Analyst Scott Barry says recent checks with travel agents indicated healthy booking volume growth, firmer prices, and a longer booking curve. He says Carnival appears to be embracing its leadership role in the cruise industry. He thinks Carnival will soon realize the positive benefits of its recent structural change in space-rationalization, its moderating supply growth, and more aggressive positioning vs. other vacation travel categories.
Barry thinks the market-share battle within the cruise industry is over, suggesting more modest capacity growth, and he thinks the industry, including Carnival, will focus much more on positioning its category to take share from the myriad vacation alternatives available to consumers.
Barry raised the $2.00 2004 EPS estimate to $2.05; he upped the $38 12-month target to $46.