Carnival grows - but challenges could lie ahead
There are a few data points to be bullish about, as Carnival Cruises ($NYSE:CCL) readies its earnings report. Analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are seeking EPS $2.53 when the Miami-based vacation liner operator reports earnings September 26.
There are a handful of good tidbits of data from the company, and from the analysts that track Carnival - our first chart follows job postings over time, and not only are Carnival postings around a three year high, they've also increased three-fold since the beginning of 2019. It could reflect churn in the industry - but taking into account the fact Carnival is launching new ships this year, it jives that this is for expanding the business and not replacing staffers lost to attrition.
Possibly better than the data, are what analysts are saying. In a September 23 report from SunTrust, analysts said bookings fell as a result of Hurricane Dorian - "not unusual around a hurricane" - but that "the cruise lines dodged a bullet with this latest hurricane."
Further, analysts wrote, reservations are up - although not on the pace they previously were - and industry-wide, European cruises are looking strong in the third quarter of this year. Perhaps that's because vacationers who flew on Thomas Cook are opting to sail back home.
However, there are worrisome data points. The company's Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) Talking About Count has slid consistently over time, meaning that consumers aren't going out of their way to declare their love for the Carnival brand as often. Of course, there is a big boundary that divides social media from reality - so they may not be losing out on foot traffic, so much as they are losing out on chatter.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.