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Royal Caribbean's 4Q profit surges on lower costs, but revenue falls short of forecasts

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NEW YORK — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. on Tuesday reported a surge in fourth-quarter profit, helped by lower fuel costs. But disappointing guidance for the year dragged shares sharply lower.

The cruise line operator's profit rose 88 percent to $206.8 million, or 94 cents per share. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 92 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $1.9 billion in the period, falling short of Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.95 billion.

Operating costs fell 5.7 percent to $1.17 billion as lower fuel costs helped to offset lackluster revenue growth.

For the year, the company reported profit of $665.8 million, or $3.02 per share. Revenue was reported as $8.3 billion.

For the current quarter ending in April, Royal Caribbean expects its per-share earnings to be 30 cents, while it expects full-year earnings in the range of $5.90 to $6.10 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 46 cents for the first quarter and $6.26 for 2016.

The Miami-based company said that weakness in Latin America economies is prompting it to refocus its Pullmantur brand on the core market of Spain.

Royal Caribbean shares fell $12.13, or 14.4 percent, to $72.38 in midday trading Tuesday. Its shares are dpwn almost 4 percent for the year.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on RCL at http://www.zacks.com/ap/RCL

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Keywords: Royal Caribbean, Earnings Report

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