UK investors who focus their attention on the 7.00am core batch of stockmarket announcements for London-listed companies can risk missing out on several large cap companies which report later in the day. This typically applies to stocks dual listed in other geographical territories where places like the US and Asia are considered their core markets rather than London.
HSBC (HSBA) bank is a good example where its half-year and full-year financial results tend to be published just before the UK market close at 4.30pm. Another is cruise line Carnival (CCL) whose quarterly results are typically timed to coincide with the US market open, being 2.30pm UK time.
Carnival yesterday released its second-quarter results and announced the replacement of its long-serving chief executive officer (CEO), Micky Arison. With the information released across two announcements at 1pm and 2.15pm UK time, it would be easy for UK-based investors to have missed the important news. As the chart below illustrates, the board shake-up had a positive impact on the share price, sending it up 5.3% to £22.91 on the day, despite mixed messages on trading.
Micky Arison, the son of company founder Ted Arison, has been CEO since 1979. He is now becoming chairman and replaced by Arnold Donald who has been a board member for 12 years.
This is an interesting move as Carnival is finally splitting the roles of CEO and chairman, which will be taken positively from a corporate governance perspective. Donald brings experience from outside the cruise industry including private equity and running Monsanto's (MON:NYSE) agriculture business.
The second-quarter results were ahead of expectations but the advanced bookings and prices for the rest of 2013 are lower than last year's levels.
Carnival has reiterated full-year guidance for constant currency net yields – a measure of income earned per passenger after subtracting expenses – to decline by 2% to 3%; and costs excluding fuel to be 3.5% to 4.5% higher on the back of higher selling and administration costs and slightly higher levels of voyage cancellations.
Maintaining the outlook should not surprise, given that the $28.2 billion cap updated on trading a mere five weeks ago when it issued a profit warning – its second in just three months. Given these setbacks, together with a string of operational problems over the past year, it is no wonder that the group has implemented new leadership.
Carnival's Costa Concordia ship ran aground off the coast of Italy in January 2012, causing the death of 32 people. In February this year, its Carnival Triumph boat was left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five years. Technical problems have since besieged two other ships.
The company's had a lot of problems to address, yet it is easy to see why City experts remain positive. One such example is that economic recovery in the US would be very positive for consumer spending – making Carnival a prime candidate to benefit from such a trend.
Deutsche Bank has a 'buy' rating and $40 price target for the US-listed stock which is presently trading at $34.89.
Investec is also bullish and has a £25.50 price target for the UK-listed shares which are trading at £22.96. Analyst James Hollins says: 'Our bullish view remains intact, with the potential for a significant yield recovery in FY14E and a positive long-term outlook based on solid core market yield growth/recovery, emerging markets opportunities, a relatively young fleet, and limited industry and group supply growth projections.'