Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Carnival Corporation, Carnival PLC and Select Comfort announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL), Carnival PLC (NYSE: CUK) and Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS).

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Here are highlights from Mondays Analyst Blog:

Ahead of Earnings, Carnival a Hold

We maintain our Hold rating for both Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) and Carnival PLC (NYSE: CUK). We expect Carnival to continue to trade at a premium to its largest competitor over the near-term. However, given our expectation for flat operating margins and continued pricing pressure in the Caribbean, we do not feel that further material price appreciation is warranted at this time.

Our six-month target price of $50 for CCL is based on a multiple of approximately 15x our 2008 earnings estimate. The company is scheduled to report third quarter financial results on September 20, and we will update our model and outlook at that time.

Carnival's cruise ships offer various itineraries to passengers worldwide under leading cruise brands. In North America, the company services the contemporary cruise segment through its Carnival brand, the premium cruise segment through its Holland America and Princess brands, and the luxury cruise segment through its Seabourn and Windstar brands.

Downgrading Select Comfort Shares

We are downgrading Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS) shares from Buy to Hold. In its mid-quarter update, management again reduced its outlook due to weaker-than-expected sales trends. Accordingly, we lowered our 2007 and 2008 sales and earnings estimates.

While we continue to view the company as a solid operator with a strong product, we no longer believe Select Comfort will be able to overcome the headwinds that are contributing to a slowdown in consumer spending, especially with big-ticket discretionary purchases. Our target price goes from $21 to $16.50, which is roughly 17 times our 2008 EPS estimate.

All told, the stock looks fairly valued. Previously, Select Comfort shares traded at a premium to its industry average, but its valuation has dropped in line with the industry average. We feel this appropriate given the reduction in our estimate of the company's long-term earnings growth rate from 20% to 17%.

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