Carnival

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Carnival ( CCL)

Company Profile : Miami-based Carnival is a cruise and vacation company, which has a portfolio of recognized cruise brands and a provider of cruises to all main vacation destinations.

On Jan. 20, Carnival announced a 150% spike to its quarterly cash dividend, to 25 cents per share, from 10 cents per share.

The higher dividend will be paid on March 11 to shareholders of record on Feb. 18. That will bring Carnival's yield to around 2.2%.

"Considering the current economic climate, our ability to more than double our dividend just a year after its reinstatement is a remarkable testament to the resilience of our global cruise brands and our confidence in the future of our business," said CEO Micky Arison. "Given our projected increase in cash from operations, expected to exceed $4 billion in 2011, combined with lower capital investment commitments due to the slower pace of our newbuild program, the company will begin generating significant free cash flow in 2011 and beyond," he added.

Earlier in January analysts at Credit Suisse raised their price target on Carnival to $47.20, from $42, citing solid fourth-quarter results. The firm, which maintained a neutral rating on the stock, also noted that trading momentum is building for Carnival.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank upgraded Carnival to buy from hold, maintaining a $57.50 price target.

In late December analysts at Citigroup increased their price target on Carnival to $56. The company should see improving pricing power, Citigroup said, giving the cruise ship operator a buy rating.

The favorable broker actions followed Carnival's better-than-expected quarterly report in which it grew profits 28.5% year-over-year and forecast a 3% to 4% increase in constant dollar net revenue yields for the full year 2011.

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