- Cruise stocks gained on Thursday after Bank of America boosted its outlook for the beleaguered industry.
- The bank’s analysts raised price targets for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, saying the widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine can bring prices back to their pre-pandemic highs.
- Carnival and Norwegian gained as much as 11% and 10%, respectively. Royal Caribbean rose 6% at intraday highs.
- Still, cash needs and further delays to service could drag on shares through 2021, the bank said.
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Cruise stocks shot higher in Thursday trading after Bank of America lifted its forecasts for an industry-wide recovery.
Widespread vaccination gives confidence to a full cruise-industry recovery in 2022, Bank of America analysts Andrew Diadora and Geoffrey d’Halluin said in a Thursday note. Cruises are a leading element of the travel recovery theme, and a vaccine puts the stocks’ previous highs back in play, they added.
The bank lifted its price target for Royal Caribbean Cruises to $US60 from $US34. Its price target for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings rose to $US25 from $US18. The team’s target for Carnival jumped to 1,640 pence ($US21.98) from 1,300 pence ($US17.43).
The bullish note lifted cruises in Thursday trading. Carnival and Norwegian gained as much as 11% and 10%, respectively. Royal Caribbean rose as much as 6%.
The bank also raised its profit forecasts for the three companies.
Cruise stocks have been among the most popular “reopening trades” as investors bet on the industry to rebound alongside the virus-slammed economy. Positive vaccine updates have repeatedly boosted cruise, airline, and hotel stocks.
The path back to pre-pandemic highs will come with several hurdles, the team warned. The Centres for Disease Control’s October sail order gives the institute the ability to delay cruises further, and Bank of America now expects service to resume in March instead of its previous December and January projection.
A delay in service and the costs of following CDC guidelines could also lead to greater debt buildup in the near term, the analysts said. Cruise companies might need to raise additional capital in 2021, and balance sheet stress could last through the new year, the team added.
Royal Caribbean traded at $US84.09 as of 12:40 p.m. ET Thursday, down 36% year-to-date.
Carnival traded at $US23.02, down 54% year-to-date.
Norwegian traded at $US25.41, down 56% year-to-date.
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