Royal Caribbean Sails Toward 12-Month High as Earnings Top Forecasts

Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) rose to a near one-year high Monday, gaining 9.33% after the cruise line operator beat Wall Street’s bottom-line expectations.

The Miami-based leisure company reported a large fourth quarter (Q4) loss of $1.1 billion, or $5.02 per share, while analysts had anticipated a loss of $5.04 a share. However, the figure plunged from the $1.42 earnings per share (EPS) profit reported in the year-ago quarter amid ongoing cruise cancellations. Meanwhile, revenues for the period sank to $34.1 million, down from $2.5 billion in the December 2019 quarter.

Management reiterated during the earnings call that it expects the company’s monthly cash burn to remain in the $250- to $290 million range during the suspension of operations. In its latest update on Feb. 18, the company said via its website that it had extended the suspension of its global fleet through April 30, 2021, except for select voyages departing from Singapore and China.

CEO Richard Fain provided a glimmer of hope, telling CNBC’s Seema Mody that early bookings data for the current quarter – particularly for older customers – indicates a surprisingly positive post-Covid recovery. “Some of the things we thought were going to happen aren’t happening. They’re better than we thought,” he said.

Through Monday’s close, Royal Caribbean stock has a market capitalization of $20.47 billion and trades 15.45% higher since the start of the year. Over the past 12 months, the shares trade underwater by around 19%.

Wall Street View

Last month, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Woronka bumped the investment firm’s price target on the stock to $62 from $46 while maintaining his ‘Hold’ rating. Woronka sees uncertainty remaining for the first half of 2021, with more sailings resuming in the second half of the year.

Elsewhere, most other broker coverage recommends sitting on the sidelines for now. The stock receives 7 ‘Hold’ ratings, 3 ‘Buy’ ratings, 2 ‘Underweight’ ratings, and 1 ‘Sell’ rating. Price targets range from a Street-high $100 to $48 low, with the median target pegged at $61. Look for re-ratings in the coming weeks as analysts get a better understanding of the cruise operator’s short- to mid-term outlook.

Technical Outlook and Trading Tactics

Royal Caribbean’s better-than-expected earnings helped its share price break above a multi-month horizontal trendline to reach its highest level in almost a year. The move occurred on above-average volume, increasing the probability of follow-through buying in subsequent trading sessions.

Those who buy the breakout should set a take-profit order at the pre-pandemic double top around $135, where the price may encounter overhead resistance. Protected against a reversal with a stop placed somewhere below the 50-day simple moving average (SMA).

For a look at today’s earnings schedule, check out our earnings calendar.

US Stock Market Daily Recap: The Yield Harbinger for Stocks

That correction I’ve been calling for weeks could have potentially started.

While I don’t foresee a crash like we saw last March and feel that the wheels are in motion for a healthy 2021, I still maintain that some correction before the end of Q1 could happen.

Bank of America also echoed this statement and said last week that “We expect a buyable 5-10% Q1 correction as the big ‘unknowns’ coincide with exuberant positioning, record equity supply, and as good as it gets’ earnings revisions.”

But rather than looking at the past, let’s take a look at what’s on tap this week to get you ready for what could potentially be a volatile week ahead.

This coming week, be on the lookout for the January leading indicator index, durable goods orders, and personal income and spending.

On Tuesday, we will also receive the February Consumer Confidence Index; on Wednesday, the Census Bureau will release upcoming home sales. On Friday, the University of Michigan will release its Consumer Sentiment Index.

Of course, as we’ve seen in weeks past, jobless claims from the previous week will be announced on Thursday too. After outperforming the last few weeks, the jobless claims announced last Thursday (Feb. 18) grossly underperformed and reached their worst levels in nearly a month.

Earnings season has been outstanding but is winding down now. Be on the lookout this week for earnings from Royal Caribbean (RCL) on Monday (Feb. 22), Square (SQ) on Tuesday (Feb. 23), Nvidia (NVDA) on Wednesday (Feb. 24), and Virgin Galactic (SPCE) and Moderna (MRNA) on Thursday (Feb. 25).

We have the makings of a volatile week, and as I mentioned before, a possible correction.

Look. Don’t panic. We have a very market-friendly monetary policy, and corrections are more common than most realize. Corrections are also healthy and normal market behavior, and we are long overdue for one. Only twice in the last 38 years have we had years WITHOUT a correction (1995 and 2017), and we haven’t seen one in a year.

While it won’t happen for sure, I feel like it’s inevitable because of how much we have surged over the last few months.

A correction could also be an excellent buying opportunity for what could be a great second half of the year.

My goal for these updates is to educate you, give you ideas, and help you manage money like I did when I was pressing the buy and sell buttons for $600+ million in assets. I left that career to pursue one to help people who needed help instead of the ultra-high net worth.

With that said, to sum it up:

While there is long-term optimism, there are short-term concerns. A short-term correction between now and the end of Q1 2021 is possible. I don’t think that a decline above ~20%, leading to a bear market, will happen.

Hopefully, you find my insights enlightening. I welcome your thoughts and questions and wish you the best of luck.

Will the Russell 2000 Overheat Again?

Figure 1- iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)

The Russell 2000 popped on Friday (Feb. 19) after seeing a bit of a pullback since February 9. Between February 9 and the close on February 18, the Russell 2000 lagged behind the other indices after significantly overheating. I switched my call to a SELL then on the 9th, and it promptly declined by 3.40% before Friday’s session.

I foresaw the pullback but cautiously saw a rally and switched to a HOLD call before it popped over 2% on Friday (Feb. 19).

I do love small-caps for 2021, and I liked the decline before Friday. However, I feel like the index needs a minimum decline of 5% from its highs before switching it to a BUY.

As tracked by the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) , small-cap stocks have been on a rampage since November.

Since the market’s close on October 30, the IWM has gained nearly 47.56% and more than doubled ETFs’ returns tracking the larger indices. If you thought that the Nasdaq was red hot and frothy, you have no idea about the Russell 2000.

Not to mention, year-to-date, it’s already up a staggering 16.38%.

It pains me not to recommend you to BUY the Russell just yet. I love this index’s outlook for 2021. Aggressive stimulus, friendly policies, and a reopening world could bode well for small-caps. Consumer spending, especially for small-caps, could be very pent-up as well.

But we just need to hold on and wait for it to cool down just a little bit more for a better entry point.

HOLD. If and when there is a deeper pullback, BUY for the long-term recovery.

For more of my thoughts on the market, such as the streaky S&P, inflation, and emerging market opportunities, sign up for my premium analysis today.

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Thank you.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Matthew Levy, CFA
Stock Trading Strategist
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

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All essays, research, and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Matthew Levy, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Matthew Levy, CFA, and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Levy is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Matthew Levy, CFA’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Matthew Levy, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees, and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.


Three Top Earnings Plays This Week

Major indices sold off this week one year ago when a Kirkland, Washington nursing home reported the first non-travel related COVID cases in the United States. The rest is history, with major benchmarks crashing to multiyear lows, ahead of a relentless recovery underpinned by massive government stimulus programs. Those greenbacks continue to guide price action in 2021, with banks and recovery plays outperforming while pandemic beneficiaries falter.

The next act of this real-life soap opera comes in Monday’s pre-market, when Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) is likely to report another quarter of staggering losses.   Dow component Home Depot Inc. (HD) heads the week’s blue chip earnings schedule on Tuesday while rival Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (LOW) follows on Wednesday. Hot rocket NVIDIA Inc. (NVDA) also reports mid-week, with investors confident the stock will trade above 1,000 in coming years.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is expected to report a Q4 2020 loss of $4.99 per-share after posting a $1.42 profit in the same quarter last year. That was also the last quarter the cruise operator made money or had a full fleet sailing around the world. RCL has gone to the capital markets several times since then, attempt to stay afloat, which takes on special meaning in this case. As with other battered leisure segments, the company is counting on vaccines to get them back in business.

Home Depot

Wall Street analysts are looking for Home Depot to earn $2.37 per share on $27.1 billion in Q4 2020 revenue. The stock cleared February 2020 resistance in May and posted an all-time high at 292.95 in August. It failed an October breakout attempt and has traded in a narrow range since that time, working off 2020’s outsized share gains. With the pandemic receding, the retailer could trade higher on a booming housing market and the strengthening U.S. economic outlook.


NVIDIA is expected to report another strong quarter on Wednesday, with analysts predicting a Q4 2020 profit of $1.98 per-share on $4.82 billion in revenue. The stock just nosed above the September peak at 589.07 but a breakout will require a buy-the-news reaction after the report. That isn’t a sure thing after Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), the other beneficiary of Intel Corp. (INTC) missteps, sold off in January despite beating top and bottom line estimates.

For a look at all of this week’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.