12/21/2010: HSBC prefers Carnival to Royal Caribbean for its diversified fleet and branding, superior returns and lower leverage. HSBC expects cruising demand to recover further, ship capacity growth to slow. Thus, it initiated RCL at neutral. Despite a neutral initation, the stock moved upward as a sigh of relief. Investors are expecting, and have priced in, further downgrades to the stock.
RCL is attempting to find financing to purchase the 5,400-passenger, 16-deck, $1.2 billion Oasis of the Seas from STX Europe's Finnish shipyards - in the credit climate of 2009, however, the company is running into problems with its endeavor. In February 2009, the company opened talks with the Finnish government, asking it to secure its loans in order to attract more private lenders and possibly even to provide its own loans so that the purchase can be made. With a declining tourist market compounded by lack of available credit, it looks like the pursuit of the Oasis will sink RCL.