Carnival stock is suffering its worst year on record, creating an ‘incredible buying opportunity’

Shares of Carnival Corp. have had a really bad year, even worse than the pandemic year of 2020. And that’s what makes Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steven Wieczynski believe the stock is now “overly compelling.”

Even though the cruise operator’s fleet has returned to service and booking volumes continue to strengthen, Carnival continues to report disappointing results. Earlier this week, the company reported a narrower-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss, snapping an eight-quarter streak of bottom-line misses, but missed on revenue for an 11th-straight quarter.

And with a week to go in 2022, the stock
has tumbled 61.2% this year, putting it in danger of breaking the yearly-record drop of 57.4% in 2020, when the pandemic shut its business down. It has underperformed its peers by a wide margin, as shares of Royal Caribbean Group
have lost 35.2% year to date and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
have dropped 37.3%. The S&P 500 index
is down 19.6% this year.

Stifel’s Wieczynski said that weakness, despite a healthy liquidity profile, compelling new leadership under Chief Executive Josh Weinstein and improving fundamentals heading into the peak cruise-promotion season during the first quarter of the new year (known as Wave Season), has presented investors with “an incredible buying opportunity” heading into 2023.

“Booking volumes and pricing continue to accelerate, and we don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t continue into Wave Season,” Wieczynski wrote in a recent note to clients.

With expectations remaining subdued, he expects the company to be a “solid beat and raise story” over the next 12 months.

“At this point, we believe the setup for CCL [Carnival’s stock] heading into 2023 is overly compelling,” Wieczynski wrote. “CCL has essentially derisked most of 2023 and post today, estimates should get reset to levels that we believe should be…


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