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Jason

Carnival Corp.'s First-Quarter Earnings Rise

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MIAMI -- Carnival Corp.'s first-quarter earnings surged 70 percent, helped by higher ticket prices and improving business, the world's largest cruise company reported Monday.

For the three months ended Feb. 28, the Miami-based company earned $345 million, or 42 cents a share, compared to $203 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier.

The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call was 40 cents a share.

But concerns about rising fuel costs weighed on the stock. In trading Monday morning, Carnival shares fell 85 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $53.98 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $40.05 to $58.98.

Revenues were nearly $2.4 billion, up from $1.98 billion the year before.

Higher ticket prices and onboard revenues were the primary reason for the revenue increase, Carnival said. Higher occupancy and the weak U.S. dollar also played a role.

Although fuel costs went up, they were offset by lower administrative costs, the company said.

Carnival operates 12 brands, including Princess Cruises, Cunard Line and Carnival Cruise Lines. It has 77 ships with 13 more on order.

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