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Carnival Corporation (CCL)

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Following the recent sinking of Carnival Corp.'s (CCL) cruise ship, we are cautious about the sector in the near term. This disaster shook customer confidence, thereby sharply reducing the booking volume and consequent earnings guidance.

Moreover, a slowdown in the European economy and faltering consumer confidence in Europe are currently acting as major hindrances to the company's growth. Surging fuel prices and a greater exposure to a sluggish European market remain other headwinds for the company.

Hence, we downgrade the stock from Neutral to Underperform. Our six-month target price of $29.00 equates to about 18.1x our estimate for 2012. The target price implies an expected negative return of 7.9% over that period.

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