Shares in tour operator Carnival (CCL) jumped almost 8% in afternoon trading to £36.14 after the company beat its fourth quarter earnings guidance.

The shares were trading sideways in London throughout the morning, but Carnival is also listed in New York and so published its results just before the market open on Wall Street at 9.15am ET, or 2.15pm UK time.

In an update covering the full year results to 30 November and the fourth quarter up to the end of last month, Carnival said annual revenue rose 10% to $20.83bn as fourth quarter revenue alone climbed 7.2% to $4.78bn.


While pre-tax profit dropped 4.7% to $3.06bn for the year and fell from $492m to $427m for the fourth quarter, what the market was more interested in was a rise in annual earnings per share (EPS).

In September, Miami-based Carnival revised down its expectations for adjusted EPS to between $4.23-4.27, down from a range of $4.25-4.35. But this was beaten regardless as the firm recorded a full year adjusted EPS of $4.40.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said, ‘Exceeding our fourth quarter guidance enabled us to have strong full year earnings per share and another year of record adjusted earnings.


‘We overcame a high number of unusual events compounded by a significant downturn in leisure travel demand for our large source markets in Continental Europe.

‘In that environment, to achieve record revenues and adjusted earnings is an accomplishment for any consumer company, a credit to our 150,000 team members and demonstrates the robustness of our business model.’

Also helping investor sentiment was Carnival’s outlook for the first quarter of 2020, as the firm said bookings are at record levels despite taking a fourth quarter hit this year from the impact of Hurricane Dorian.

Going forward, Carnival expects its full year adjusted EPS for 2020 to stand between $4.30-4.60, which if it is towards the upper end would exceed analyst expectations of $4.37, according to data from Refinitiv via Reuters.

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Issue Date: 20 Dec 2019