The U.S. stock market posted another strong upswing in the third quarter of 2016, rising 3.3%. It was the fourth straight quarterly gain. But this upswing could change quickly as history shows, and many market observers say that this latest bull market will soon end.
It may be a good time to consider Carnival(CCL) - Get Reportfor your portfolio. Carnival is the leader in its industry, the world's largest leisure travel company. Equally important, it has been making fundamental changes that will keep it at the forefront of green -- more environmentally friendly -- travel. Carnival shares rose slightly in Monday trading.
The Miami-based company offers 10 cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Some of its other popular brands include Holland America and Princess Cruises; even the old Cunard ship line has been absorbed into Carnival. Together, these brands operate 101 ships visiting over 700 ports worldwide, with 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2022. Carnival also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.
Carnival has many other strengths, including an impressive record of earnings per share growth with expanding profit margins over time. Yet its price-earnings ratio is reasonable at under 16.
Carnival's third-quarter results, once again, beat the analysts' estimates. The company posted revenue of $5.1 billion over the period, a 4.4% gain year-over-year and a record for the company. While revenue was up slightly, profits surged, increasing 17% to $1.42 billion, or $1.93 per share. Low fuel costs and strong demand helped the company to increase profit and keep overhead down.
Carnival's most recent quarterly dividend was 35 cents per share, representing a yield of 2.96%. In addition to consistent growth, the company offers income noticeably higher than the current average dividend yield of 2.07% found on the S&P 500. It's also a higher payout than its rival Royal Caribbean Cruises, which yields about 2.5%.
The management at Carnival is also the most forward-thinking in its industry. It just announced a deal with Shell Western, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. The oil giant will be supplying the cruise company with clean liquefied natural gas fuels for its new "green cruising" ship design.
Carnival plans to bring two new LNG-powered vessels into service in 2019 for its AIDA and Costa cruise brands. The ships will use Shell infrastructure in cruise ports to refuel with the clean energy source. Carnival's new ships will be the first in the industry to be fully powered by LNG in port and at sea, improving air quality with cleaner emissions.
"We are committed to reducing our air emissions and improving air quality by evaluating new and established solutions such as LNG -- an especially promising option because of its environmental and other benefits," said Tom Strang, senior vice president of Carnival.
The company's consistent performance has caught the attention of market experts. One recent survey by The Wall Street Journal found 13 leading analysts recommending CCL as a "buy," with only one recommending "sell."
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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.