Carnival Stock Has 29% Upside, According to 1 Wall Street Analyst


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Conflict and piracy in and around the Red Sea have thrown a monkey wrench into the travel plans of cruise ship companies that operate there. Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), in particular, suffered a minor setback on Monday, when analysts at Susquehanna International Group said they would tweak their price target lower, to $22 per share. As the analyst explained in a note covered on TheFly.com, “certain itineraries” around the Red Sea have been rerouted, and others canceled outright.

Despite this setback, Susquehanna’s $22 price target still implies that Carnival stock will gain about 29% over the next year — not bad for a stock that already nearly doubled over the last year.

Is Carnival stock a buy?

Susquehanna’s note focuses on the short-term implications of Red Sea events for Carnival’s Q1 earnings results, tempering optimism about the company’s performance during the upcoming “2024 Wave Season” — i.e. “Summer,” or “Q3” to investors. But the story surrounding this cruise line stock’s comeback is a whole lot bigger than just one quarter.

After eking out an existence despite the pandemic, Carnival has come roaring back, recording significant revenue gains in 2022, setting a new record for revenue in 2023, and coming within a whisker of earning a profit as well. (Carnival lost just $74 million last year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, after losing $10 billion in 2020).

By all accounts, 2024 should be the year Carnival completes its recovery. Analysts on average forecast another revenue-record-setting year ($24.6 billion) and nearly $1 a share in profits (giving the stock a modest P/E ratio of 18). And things are likely to only get better from there.

Over the next five years, Carnival sales are expected to grow 11% annually, while its earnings rise more than double to $2.53 per share. Granted, debt is still a problem — Carnival owes $29.5 billion net of cash on hand — and the company needs to keep making progress paying that down. But bankruptcy fears seem behind Carnival for well and good now, and sunnier seas lie ahead.

Should you invest $1,000 in Carnival Corp. right now?

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends S&P Global. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival Corp. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Carnival Stock Has 29% Upside, According to 1 Wall Street Analyst was originally published by The Motley Fool



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