Cruise operator stocks surged Friday, to pace the S&P 500's (S&P:SPX) gainers, after Barclays analysts turned bullish on the group, saying the industry has reached a post-COVID-19 inflection point. Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYS:NCLH) shot up 11.5% to be the top S&P 500 gainer, Carnival Corp. (NYS:CCL) (LON:UK:CCL) was second with an 8.9% rally and Royal Caribbean Group's stock (NYS:RCL) was third with 7.4% gain. Barclays analysts led by Felicia Hendrix raised the the ratings of all three stocks to overweight from equal weight. Hendrix said the industry could get a nice boost within the next few days when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) addresses its order to suspend cruises through Sept. 30. Even if the CDC extends the order, Hendrix said she thinks the worst is behind the sector. "While we see a high likelihood that the CDC will extend the date again (likely into 4Q20), we expect comments from the agency to be positive and potentially signal a near-term return to cruise, which could be a catalyst for the shares," Hendrix wrote in a note to clients. Year to date, shares of Norwegian have plunged 72.1%, Carnival have tumbled 70.6% and Royal have dropped 51.8%, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%.
Sept. 25, 2020, 1:23 p.m. EDT