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Carnival cruise line hit by rising fuel prices

In this Jan. 14, 2011 photo, the Carnival Imagination cruise ship passes South Pointe Park in Miami Beach, Fla. as it leaves the Port of Miami. Carnival Corp.'s first-quarter earnings will fall short of Wall Street expectations and the cruise operator is cutting its full-year earnings outlook. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Cruise operator Carnival Corp. cut its full-year earnings outlook Friday because of rising fuel prices and itinerary changes in the Middle East and North Africa.

Carnival also said Friday that its first-quarter earnings will come in at 19 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting for earnings of 20 cents per share.

Carnival’s first-quarter forecast was for earnings between 15 cents and 19 cents per share.

The cruise operator now anticipates full-year earnings of $2.50 to $2.60 per share. That’s down from a prior range of $2.90 to $3.10 per share.

Analysts expect earnings of $2.94 per share for the year.

Carnival said its full-year earnings per share would be lowered by about 40 cents, based on current spot fuel prices and currency exchange rates. Itinerary changes in the Middle East and North Africa will trim the company’s earnings for the rest of the year by about 5 cents per share.

The company’s stock dropped 46 cents to $39.99 in morning trading.

Carnival, which said in January that it was more than doubling its quarterly dividend, is set to report its first-quarter earnings on March 22.

The cruise operator runs 98 ships under brands including Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

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