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Carnival Hit by Fuel Costs, Outlook

MIAMI ( TheStreet) -- Carnival (CCL - Get Report) shares tumbled Tuesday morning after the cruise ship operator reported a 13% quarterly profit decline as high fuel costs cut into its revenue, and revised its earnings outlook.

Carnival Cruise
Carnival Cruise Line vessels Sensation and Ecstasy

Carnival said it expects to book a 2011 profit in the range of $2.55 to $2.65 per share , down from its December guidance range of $2.90 to $3.10.

The Miami operator of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises, among others, first announced an earnings outlook revision earlier this month when it pre-announced disappointing first-quarter earnings, saying higher fuel prices would pressure its results.

Tuesday's forecast raised that range by a nickel, citing currency fluctuations and changes in spot prices for fuel. Even so, Carnival cut its outlook for net revenue yield growth for 2.5% to 3.5%.

Current quarter earnings were forecast in a range of 20 cents to 24 cents per share, lower than the 32 cents per share analysts had expected.

Carnival shares fell 4.1% to $39.34 amid heavy trading Tuesday morning. Nearly 5.5 million shares changed hands two hours in the trading session, compared with their average daily volume of just 4.1 million.

"Despite the uncertain world events that have unfolded during our peak booking period, we have experienced a solid wave season," said CEO Micky Arison. "Ticket prices for the peak summer season remain particularly strong."

For the quarter ended Feb. 28, Carnival booked a profit of $152 million, or 19 cents per share, down 13.1% from the year-earlier period, matching analysts' consensus call.

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