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  • Analysts: 2 Big 8% Dividend Stocks to Buy (And 1 to Sell)

    We’re coming off a year of major-league gains in the markets, and analysts are predicting a flatter year ahead. With the strong likelihood that share price returns will slow down, now is a logical time to start reassessing your portfolio. It’s time to decide which stocks to shed, and which to snap up.Income is the deciding factor. Investing is all about making money, making your investments grow. So, if markets follow the predictions, and growth slows, that leaves dividends as the sensible route to go. Dividends provide a steady income stream, whether markets go up or down. But not all dividend stocks are created equal.With that in mind, we delved into the market data from to get the lowdown on 3 high-yield dividend stocks, two of which analysts think are set to shine in 2020, and one whose prospects aren’t quite as bright. Let’s dive in:Viper Energy Partners (VNOM)We’ll start with the cash-rich energy industry. Specifically, with Viper Energy, an oil company operating in the Midland formation of the Texas Permian Basin. This basin holds the largest proven oil reserves in North America, and operations in the Permian have made the US the world’s largest producer of crude oil. Viper has exploration rights in more than 14,000 acres in the Midland, which are exploited by third parties and subsidiaries who then pay the royalties that make up Viper’s income. Viper Energy’s land holdings contain an estimated 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil and oil equivalents.Despite low oil prices, Viper’s position as a land holder rather than direct operator allowed it to continue recording profits in 2H19. At the same time, lower forward guidance pushed the stock price down. The top- and bottom-line numbers in Q3 – the last reported – disappointed; revenues missed the forecast by 6% and came in at $71.8 million, while EPS, at 13 cents, missed the estimate by only a penny. At the same time, EPS was up 160% year-over-year, and oil production showed a 9% sequential gain.Better for investors, Viper has held fast to its dividend commitment. The company is consistent about making the payments, and has a history of adjusting the payment to make sure that it is sustainable. Currently, VNOM shares pay out a quarterly dividend of 46 cents, or $1.84 annually, giving a yield of 8.21%. This is more than four times the average yield found among S&P 500 stocks.Viper’s production has been strong in recent months, and Wall Street analysts are taking notice. Pearce Hammond, of Piper Sandler, writes, “Positive news for VNOM as the company announced Q4'19 total production of 26.1 Mboe/d which bested our estimate by 2%… Taking into account increased equity unit count, VNOM increased production per million partnership units outstanding by ~5% q/q despite the headwinds of a broad activity slowdown on non-operated properties in Q4.” Hammond puts a Buy rating on the stock, along with a price target of $33, indicating an upside potential of 47%. (To watch Hammond’s track record, click here)Also bullish is Welles Fitzpatrick from SunTrust Robinson. Fitzpatrick notes the strategic implications of Viper’s more recent land acquisitions: “While the company has been extremely active on the acquisition front, as of the last update interest had gone down somewhat. Instead we expect the company to refrain from adding acreage that it cannot reasonably predict activity plans for, a move that we think will be rewarded by the currently more conservative energy investor base.” Fitzpatrick backs his Buy rating with a $32 price target, showing confidence in an upside of 42%. (To watch Fitzpatrick’s track record, click here)Overall, Wall Street likes VNOM shares. In fact, the analyst consensus on this stock is a unanimous Strong Buy, with 9 positive reviews. Shares are selling for $22.04, and the average price target of $33.67 suggests an impressive 50% upside potential. (See Viper stock analysis at TipRanks)Hercules Capital (HTGC)Venture capital is the lifeblood of innovation. Start-ups couldn’t start without money, and all new research and development has to be paid for. Venture firms are a major vehicle for injecting private money into the business world. Hercules Capital inhabits that niche, and to date has committed $10 billion to the life sciences, technology, and financial SaaS sectors.Venture capitalists are necessary for innovators to succeed, but they don’t operate as a charity. They want to see a return on their money. Hercules has been fortunate, and its investments have provided strong returns. In Q3, the most recent report on record, the company showed a record in net investment income of $38.9 million, which came out to 37 cents per share. For the 12 months ending on September 30, the company showed a total of $103.2 million net investment income, or $1.03 per share. In three of the past four quarter reported, HTGC has beating the earnings forecasts.The company has also grown its dividend. After holding the payment steady at 31 cents from 2013 to 2018, HTGC began increasing the payout, raising it three times in 2019. The current payment, 35 cents, annualizes to $1.40, for a yield of 8.9%. It’s a clear boon for investors.Writing for Jefferies, 5-star analyst John Hecht points out the generally strong position of HTGC stock: “We observe positive trends and developments at HTGC, and we believe this reflects inherent competitive advantages and strong execution. Additionally, we point to an ongoing strong VC market backdrop and further enhanced balance sheet…”Hecht maintains a Buy rating here, and puts a $16 price target on HTGC. His target suggests room for 11% upside growth in this stock. (To watch Hecht’s track record, click here)HTGC is another company with a unanimous analyst consensus of Strong Buy, this one based on 4 Buy ratings. Shares sell for $14.30, and the average price target of $15.33 implies a modest upside of 6.6%. The key point here is the high dividend. (See Hercules Capital’s stock analysis at TipRanks)Macy’s, Inc. (M)Macy’s is a storied name in American retail, a long-time mainstay of the department store segment. Before the decline of indoor shopping malls, there was a time when Macy’s stores were frequently seen as anchors for the country’s retail shopping outlets. But times have been hard for American retail. Since 2015, Macy’s has closed more than 150 under-performing locations.In the most recent quarterly report, for third quarter 2019, M showed the first same-store sales decline in two years. The drop was 3.5%, and came in hand with a fall-off in revenue of 4.25%, to $5.17 billion. EPS did beat expectations, however, coming in at 7 cents versus the breakeven forecast. On the downside, that was a 65% drop year-over-year.Falling earnings and a gloomy long-term outlook for brick-and-mortar retail have this stock on the ropes for now – but Macy’s is still paying out the dividend. At 37.75 cents per quarter, it annualizes to $1.51, and gives the highest yield on this list, of 9%. It’s a solid performance, but unless the EPS moves back up, it may not be sustainable.Top analysts are not sanguine about the future for Macy’s. From Credit Suisse, 4-star analyst Michael Binetti writes, “[W]e think negative -0.6% SSS and -3% YOY gross profit dollar declines in a booming economy offer little evidence so far of a change in the ultimate medium and long-term challenges facing the company. Importantly, we still have little visibility on how EBIT margins can stabilize from here… We continue to believe it’s going to be increasingly difficult for the stock to stabilize on valuation alone.”Binetti puts a $12 target on M stock, implying a 28% downside for the shares. This is inline with his Sell rating, and his believe that the stock will underperform in coming months. (To watch Binetti’s track record, click here)Kimberly Green, 5-star analyst with Morgan Stanley, is also bearish here. She writes, “Despite closing stores proactively, store-only comps remain negative and we forecast them to remain so in the future, eroding ROIC. Expense cuts, real estate monetization, and secondary growth initiatives are encouraging, but we think the market needs to see core retail EBIT stabilization and a return to strong cash flow generation in order to become more constructive on the stock.”Green’s price target is slightly higher than Binetti’s, at $13, but even that implies a downside of 22.5%. Again, this is in-line with her Sell rating. (To watch Green’s track record, click here)The analysts clear on this stock: the consensus rating here is a Moderate Sell, based on 6 Sells, 5 Holds, and just 1 Buy. Despite the high dividend, Wall Street does not see this as a strong market play. Shares are selling for $16.78, but the average price target is $15.40, suggesting the stock will slip 8% in the next year.

  • Liz Weston: Retirees' top money regrets

    In a previous column, I detailed retirees’ biggest lifestyle regrets, such as not traveling more before their health gave out and not communicating clearly with a partner about what they hoped retirement would be like. The big ones, of course, are starting to save too late and not saving enough, but there are other common regrets, according to certified financial planners from the Financial Planning Association and the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners. About 1 out of 3 Social Security recipients apply for benefits at the earliest age, which is 62.

  • Analyst: China's coronavirus victims 'probably 10 times' higher than reported

    As the number of patients stricken by China’s coronavirus continues to mount, at least one analyst believes the country’s reported casualty count might be far higher than Beijing has publicly admitted.

Travel News from ABTA

  • ABTA announces a Primary Authority partnership with Kent County Council Trading Standards

    ABTA announces a Primary Authority partnership with Kent County Council Trading Standards Full Page image Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:00 ABTA has entered into a Primary Authority partnership with Kent County Council to enhance the benefits to ABTA Members of following the advice that ABTA provides on Trading Standards regulatory requirements. ABTA will act as a co-ordinator on behalf of its Members and advice issued under the Partnership will be confirmed as “Assured Advice” by Kent County Council Trading Standards.   ABTA’s Code of Conduct and Guidance on the Code of Conduct have been signed off by the Primary Authority as “assured advice”. These two documents represent ABTA’s core guidance to Members. Provided that Members follow this advice, they can be confident that they are complying with the law. A Primary Authority takes away the risk of businesses being subject to conflicting opinions from other trading standards authorities and facing unnecessary investigation. Any Trading Standards authority must notify Kent Trading Standards if they intend to take enforcement action against an ABTA Member. That action can be halted if it conflicts with Primary Authority Advice, i.e. the ABTA Code of Conduct and Guidance on the Code.    Simon Bunce, ABTA Director of Legal Services said: “I’m delighted to announce our partnership with Kent County Council Trading Standards. ABTA Members should be greatly reassured that as long as they follow the advice given in the ABTA Code of Conduct and Guidance on the Code, they will be abiding by all relevant laws and should be protected from potential prosecution from their local trading standards office, if an issue arises that is specifically covered in the advice.     “Having access to this Primary Authority agreement through membership of the Association is a clear new Member benefit. It will provide another excellent reason for customers to book with an ABTA Member and increase the already high levels of respect and trust the public has in the ABTA logo.”   There are no increased costs for this new partnership and further information on how primary authorities work can be found here For further information, or Out of Hours: contact the duty press officer 020 3693 0183 Web: Twitter: @ABTAtravel Notes to editors ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.  The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.  We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal. ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit 

  • How to slow travel and switch off on holiday in 2020

    How to slow travel and switch off on holiday in 2020 Full Page image Thu, 01/23/2020 - 14:56 Win an Apple Watch This blog was written for ABTA’s Travel with Confidence campaign. Find out how to win an Apple Watch by visiting: Life can feel really fast at home, with all the techy devices glued to our fingertips. Whilst we scramble to get from A-to-B daily, a holiday is the perfect time to put your devices down and truly experience what is around you.  Your travel plans in 2020 should be an opportunity for you to slow down the tempo and experience your holiday destination on a deeper level.  Here are some tips for planning a getaway with an emphasis on how to go ‘slower’ and how to genuinely get to know your destination, rather than rushing through.Take it slow, take the pressure off visiting all the holiday hotspots If you’re planning a holiday, you’re probably planning to maximise your time away. However, ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report revealed people are looking into ‘slow travel’ options. This trend is as much about enjoying the journey as it is the destination and involves making a conscious effort to take in the sights and sounds, rather than worrying about sharing them on social media. Even on a shorter trip, a less packed itinerary takes the pressure off having to visit all the usual tourist hotspots and instead focuses on having more meaningful experiences. Slower travel could help you connect more with your destination by visiting community projects, a local market or taking an alternative route like a train journey to sit back and unwind and take the pressure off from going from hotspot-to-hotspot. Relax in accommodation that gives back With more time in one destination, slow travel can potentially reduce the journey footprint, and provide travellers with the chance to support more locally run businesses such as restaurants, guesthouses and community projects – resulting in a positive impact on the local economy and community. The Travelife Collection is a great place to start looking for sustainably certified hotels and accommodation providers in destinations, which ABTA approved travel companies sell to.  Travelife is an internationally recognised accommodation sustainability programme and audits its members to improve their business's environmental, financial and social impact.  Here are a couple of examples of hotels engaging their guests with their environmental programmes: •    Paloma Hotels in Turkey have monthly food festivals for guests to try locally grown produce and; •    Reethi Beach Resort in Maldives arrange volunteer beach and reef cleans and give tours around its hotel to demonstrate the environmental challenges faced on the island. So, if you’re looking to book an accommodation provider that cares about people and the environment, Travelife can help you choose a sustainably certified hotel.Switch off the devices and travel with some retro entertainment A holiday is an opportunity to have a digital detox and there are several old-fashioned ways to have fun with friends and family without the techy devices. Take a pack of cards or old games like Uno, Guess Who or Monopoly Shuffle, which are all great alternatives to smart phones and tablets. Invest in a Polaroid camera too with the aim to create an album when you return home. If you follow all these tips when planning a holiday in 2020, then there’s no doubt you will be taking the slow lane and enjoying a relaxed holiday in no time. 

  • Code of Conduct and Guidance changes

    Code of Conduct and Guidance changes Full Page image Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:00 Members should update their privacy policies and booking conditions, if necessary. 1.    Privacy policies The Code of Conduct now includes a new clause, requiring certain wording in Members’ privacy policies. It has been a requirement for some time that Members have privacy policies that are available to their clients. Now wording is required concerning what can be done with clients’ information in the event of the Member’s insolvency. Experience has shown that, when Members fail financially, there can be problems with obtaining customer data, making it hard for Members to deal with the aftermath, and for ABTA and the CAA to manage the claims process.  New clause 1K Privacy Policies 1K) Members shall have in place an effective policy for protecting the privacy of Clients, which shall be available to Clients, and which shall include any wording required by ABTA from time to time.  Guidance on the application of the Code: All Members must include in their privacy policies wording that, to the satisfaction of ABTA, ensures that, in the event of the Member’s insolvency, the client’s personal data can be passed to ABTA and the CAA by the Member or by the appointed insolvency practitioner. Suggested wording:In the event of our insolvency we, or any appointed insolvency practitioner, may disclose your personal information to the CAA, and/or ABTA so that they can assess the status of your booking and advise you on the appropriate course of action under any scheme of financial protection. The CAA’s General Privacy Notice is at ABTA’s Privacy Notice is at 2.    Booking conditions There is a new requirement for Members, who have sales protected by the ABTA scheme of financial protection, to include a clause in their booking conditions about what happens in the event of their insolvency. It obtains clients’ consent to possible fulfilment of the travel arrangements, which can provide real benefits, rather than the client losing the holiday and making a claim. This is very similar to a clause required by the CAA of ATOL holders and the new requirement is: Standards on Booking Conditions If the booking conditions apply to sales covered by ABTA’s scheme of financial protection, you must include a clause stating that your Clients agree that, in the event of your insolvency, ABTA may arrange for the travel services to be provided by you to continue, or for a suitable alternative to be provided, or the Client may be required to claim a refund. Also, that the Client agrees to pay any outstanding sums. The following suggested wording for Members has been added to our model booking conditions: package holiday. An updated version of our model has also been added to our website today.You agree to accept that in the event of our insolvency ABTA may arrange for the services you have bought to continue, or for a suitable alternative to be provided at the same cost as your original booking. You also agree to accept that in circumstances where the travel service supplier provides the services you have bought, you agree to pay any outstanding sum under your contract with us to that alternative travel service provider. However, you also agree that in some cases the services will not be provided, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under ABTA’s Scheme of Protection (or your payment card issuer where applicable) for a refund of the monies you have paid. 3.    Other changes ABTA’s Code of Conduct and Guidance on the application of the Code are now assured advice by our Primary Authority, Kent Trading Standards. As a result of this process, some minor streamlining and improvements have taken place. These are: the addition to the Code Guidance of examples of significant changes after departure; enhanced guidance in Standards on Booking Conditions (in the Code Guidance) regarding content of booking conditions; and some small changes to the product information section of Standards on Websites (in the Code Guidance). The Code and Guidance can be found here. The model booking conditions can be found here. If you have any questions please contact Member Support on 020 3117 0597 or 

  • Code gives Members confidence

    Code gives Members confidence Full Page image Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:00 Members rightly ask us to do as much as we can to enhance the benefits of membership and we are always looking at ways to add greater value. Our legal team have recently been working closely with Kent County Council Trading Standards and I am pleased to announce ABTA has a new Primary Authority partnership with them. This will bring more benefits to Members who follow the advice that ABTA provides on Trading Standards regulatory requirements. Kent Trading Standards will confirm relevant ABTA Member advice as “Assured Advice” and our core guidance –  the Code of Conduct and Guidance on the Code of Conduct – have already been through this process.  Provided that Members follow this advice, they can be confident that they are complying with the law. Additionally, a Primary Authority takes away the risk of businesses being subject to conflicting opinions from other trading standards authorities and facing unnecessary investigation. Any Trading Standards authority must notify Kent Trading Standards if they intend to take enforcement action against an ABTA Member. That action can be halted if it conflicts with Primary Authority Advice, i.e. the ABTA Code of Conduct and Guidance on the Code.  The ABTA Code of Conduct gives customers confidence as it aims to ensure that Members maintain high standards which must be lived up to. As part of this development the Code is receiving a number of updates, which Members should familiarise themselves with, these are detailed in this issue of ABTA Today.  The latest Code of Conduct and Guidance can be found online here. Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive

  • Why is having a social media strategy so important for your travel brand?

    Why is having a social media strategy so important for your travel brand? Full Page image Thu, 01/23/2020 - 08:49 There are 3.5 billion social media users in the world, this equates to about 45% of the population and it will only continue to grow.* Brands can’t ignore this method of communicating with customers.  Why is having an effective social media strategy in place so important to brands? People spend an average of three hours per day on social networks and messaging.** This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand and engage with consumers by creating content that stands out when people scroll through their newsfeeds.  54% of social browsers use social media to research products.** If you have a good understanding of the platforms that your customers use most, and ensure you’re providing enough easy to digest information, this can be the perfect tool to draw customers in and encourage them to book. Social is a great way to build trust. Working with influencers is a great way to convince travellers to book through your company. Customers look for recommendations and can be easily persuaded to book a holiday if they are given an authentic review. They are more likely to trust the review if it comes from an influencer they follow or reviews from other customers.  Platforms have the facility for brands to sell their products. Today’s travel customer can book a holiday in-store, via a website and over the phone, however more travel companies are now making it possible for customers to book via their social media platforms. This ensures that customers aren’t directed to other brands and makes it easier to make the sale.  Attend ABTA’s Social Media Essentials for Travel seminar on 13 February in London to learn how and when to use social media for your travel brand. Improve your social media skills and listen to industry case studies to find out how your peers are using social to stand out and sell more. Discover what makes great content, hear essential insights into advertising and targeting and how measure ROI. Download the full agenda and register your place at  *Emarsys 2019 **GlobalWebIndex 2018

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