Royal Caribbean (RCL) Q4 Net Income Jumps 130%

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Royal Caribbean (RCL) was trading higher after beating analyst expectations for its December-ended quarter. By late morning, shares had gained 2.4% to $48.27.

Before the bell, the cruise line recorded fourth-quarter net income of 23 cents a share, a nickel higher than analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had anticipated. Revenue of $1.85 billion was 2.2% higher than the year-ago quarter, in line with expectations.

Full-year net income of $2.40 a share came in 5 cents higher than expected, while revenue of $7.96 was as expected. The company said the continued strong performance was due to strong close-in demand for Europe and Asia sailings combined with robust onboard revenue.

For fiscal 2014, the Miami-based business said it expects adjusted earnings between $3.20 and $3.40 a share, compared to analyst consensus of $3.17 a share.

Tempering a stock rally, a Royal Caribbean cruise will return to port two days earlier than scheduled after around 600 passengers (or 19% of total capacity) fell ill with gastrointestinal issues. The ship pulled out from Cape Liberty, New Jersey on Tuesday last week and was due to return Friday.

TheStreet Ratings team rates ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD (RCL) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

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