Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Friday morning. The firm currently has $117.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Royal Caribbean have outperformed the industry in the past six months. Higher passenger ticket as well as onboard and other revenues continues to drive growth. Moreover, sailings in the United States, Europe, Alaska, and Asia are likely to consistently deliver solid performance. Solid booking trend is too anticipated to continue in fourth-quarter 2018. While capacity growth is likely to help in meeting the increased demand, ship innovation and technology investments should lead to higher yields. Furthermore, earnings estimates for 2018 have been revised upward over the past month, reflects investors optimism surrounding the company’s growth potential. Nonetheless, higher costs might hurt the company’s profitability in the near term. Global uncertainties and tricky consumer discretionary spending are added concerns for Royal Caribbean.”

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on RCL. Stifel Nicolaus upped their price objective on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises from $147.00 to $165.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, September 24th. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises from $138.00 to $150.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 26th. Nomura decreased their price objective on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises from $156.00 to $153.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 18th. Wolfe Research set a $151.00 price objective on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. Finally, Tigress Financial reiterated a buy rating on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research report on Friday, December 7th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and thirteen have given a buy rating to the company. Royal Caribbean Cruises presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $139.86.

Shares of RCL opened at $106.42 on Friday. Royal Caribbean Cruises has a twelve month low of $89.48 and a twelve month high of $135.65. The stock has a market cap of $21.81 billion, a PE ratio of 14.13, a P/E/G ratio of 0.76 and a beta of 1.36. The company has a current ratio of 0.19, a quick ratio of 0.17 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.67.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The company reported $3.98 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.97 by $0.01. Royal Caribbean Cruises had a return on equity of 16.93% and a net margin of 19.46%. The firm had revenue of $2.80 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.82 billion. As a group, sell-side analysts predict that Royal Caribbean Cruises will post 8.84 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 4th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, December 20th were given a dividend of $0.70 per share. This represents a $2.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.63%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, December 19th. Royal Caribbean Cruises’s payout ratio is currently 37.18%.

In related news, CEO Richard D. Fain acquired 18,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 13th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $105.60 per share, with a total value of $1,995,840.00. Following the completion of the purchase, the chief executive officer now owns 842,537 shares in the company, valued at approximately $88,971,907.20. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, Director Bernt Reitan sold 1,578 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $106.58, for a total value of $168,183.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 15.26% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Price Capital Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises during the third quarter valued at approximately $1,475,000. Hexavest Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises by 44.9% during the third quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 542,895 shares of the company’s stock valued at $70,544,000 after purchasing an additional 168,242 shares during the period. Dearborn Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises during the third quarter valued at approximately $208,000. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises by 0.5% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 17,531,729 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,278,073,000 after purchasing an additional 80,826 shares during the period. Finally, Buckingham Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises by 1.0% during the third quarter. Buckingham Capital Management Inc. now owns 23,481 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,051,000 after purchasing an additional 232 shares during the period. 71.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Company Profile

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. operates as a cruise company. The company operates cruises under the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises brands. The Royal Caribbean International brand provides itineraries to destinations worldwide, including Alaska, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, the Panama Canal, and New Zealand with cruise lengths that range from 2 to 23 nights.

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