Cruise Stock Sinks After Ransomware Attack

The equity is down over 71% year-to-date

Fernanda Horner
Aug 18, 2020 at 9:45 AM
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The shares of Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) are down 0.2% at $14.65 this morning, after the cruise company detected a ransomware attack on one of its brand's information technology systems, which included unauthorized access to the personal data of both guests and employees. Carnival, which also operates Princess and AIDA cruises, said it has launched an investigation into the attack, but declined to identify the affected brand.

The equity is struggling to recover from its all-time-low of $7.80 on April 2. Though shares attempted a rally to the $25 level in early June with support from the 10-day moving average, they have since cooled off to find overhead pressure at the $16 mark. Longer term, CCL is still far from a full-fledged recovery, and is down 71.1% year-to-date.

Analysts remain particularly hesitant toward the security, with 11 of the 13 in question sporting a tepid "hold" or worse rating, and only two carrying a "strong buy." Meanwhile, the 12-month consensus target price of $15.06 is a 2.6% premium to current levels.

Shorts continue to pile on, too. Short interest rose 3.2% in the most recent reporting period, and the 125.71 million shares sold short represent a hefty 26.6% of Carnival stock's available float, or nearly three days' worth of pent-up buying power. 

Pessimistic sentiment is not echoed in the options pits, however, where calls are preferred. The security sports a 10-day call/put volume ratio of 2.71 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which sits in the 82nd percentile of its annual range. This suggests a healthier-than-usual appetite for bullish bets of late. 

Also worth noting is the security's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS), which sits relatively high at 85 out of 100. In other words, this shows that Carnival stock has tended to exceed option traders' volatility expectations during the past year -- a boon for options buyers.


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