Shares of Royal Caribbean Group hiked up 3.8% in premarket trading Thursday, after the cruise operator reported a second-quarter loss that was less than half of last year’s, and less than expected, and strong book volume, but provided a downbeat profit outlook for the third quarter amid rising fuel costs. The net loss narrowed to $521.6 million, or $2.05 a share, from $1.35 billion, or $5.29 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, the adjusted per-share loss of $2.08 beat the FactSet loss consensus of $2.20. Revenue soared about 43-fold, to $2.18 billion from $50.9 million, and topped the FactSet consensus of $2.11 billion. Bookings volumes averaged 30% above corresponding levels in pre-pandemic 2019, “with even greater strength in July.” For the third quarter, the company expects adjusted earnings per share of 5 cents to 25 cents, which is below the current FactSet consensus of 82 cents. The fuel expense for the quarter is expected to be $319 million, up from $275.2 million in the second quarter, with average pricing rising to $794 per metric ton from $721 per metric ton in the second quarter. The stock has plunged 56.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has eased 6.2%.

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