Royal Caribbean stock jumps as strong start to ‘wave season’ sparks upbeat outlook

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Shares of Royal Caribbean Group surged toward pre-pandemic levels Thursday, after the cruise operator reported fourth-quarter profit and a full-year outlook that were better than Wall Street expected, citing record bookings to start the Wave season.

“Overall, the five best booking weeks of the company’s history have occurred since the last earnings call, including the first three weeks of Wave,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, the company is now in a record booked position in both rate and volume.”

Wave season is when cruise promotions peak, during the first quarter of the calendar year.

The stock

rallied 2.7% in premarket trading, putting it on track to open at the highest level seen since January 2020.

The company swung to net income of $278 million, or $1.06 a share, from a loss of $500 million, or $1.96 a share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $1.25 beat the FactSet consensus of $1.14.

Revenue jumped 27.9% to $3.33 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $3.36 billion, to mark the first revenue miss in four quarter.

Passenger ticket revenue climbed 34.3% to $2.29 billion, in line with the FactSet consensus, and onboard and other revenue grew 15.9% to $1.05 billion to miss expectations of $1.07 billion.

Looking ahead, the company expects adjusted first-quarter EPS of $1.10 to $1.20, above the FactSet consensus of 93 cents, and 2024 adjusted EPS of $9.50 to $9.70 compared with expectations of $9.21.

“Demand for our brands continues to outpace broader travel as a result of consumer spend further shifting toward experiences and the exceptional value proposition of our products,” said Chief Executive Jason Liberty.

The stock has soared 49.5% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500

has gained 14.3%.

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