3 Earnings Reports That Caught My Attention Last Week: Carnival Corporation (CCL), Dole Food Company, Inc. (DOLE), Great Panther Silver Ltd (USA) (GPL)

As first-quarter earnings creep to a close, I can’t help but point out that the majority of earnings reports we’ve covered over the past year have been better than expected. With so many companies reporting during the weeks that comprise earnings season, it’s easy for some earnings reports to fall through the cracks.

Dole Food Company, Inc. (DOLE)Each week for the past year, I’ve taken a look at three companies that could be worth further research after either beating or missing their profit expectations. Today, we’ll take a gander at three more companies that reported earnings last week. They may have slid under your radar, but they deserve a look.

Company Consensus EPS Reported EPS Surprise
Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) $0.02 $0.08 300%
Great Panther Silver (NYSEAMEX:GPL) $0.02 $0.00 (100%)
Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) ($0.02) ($0.59) (2,850%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL)

Once is an aberration; twice an eyebrow raiser… But, six times in a row now for Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) ships to have had some sort of mechanical issue dating back to January of last year without a reported problem from any of its peers is downright scary and enough reason to keep your investment money and vacation plans as far away from Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) as possible.

In just the last month, the Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) Triumph was powerless and adrift at sea for five days, the Elation had a malfunction in its steering system, the Dream‘s generator malfunctioned while at port, and, on Friday, the Legend announced it had sailing speed control issues. Carnival’s fleet is slowly being denigrated into a late-night TV show joke.

You wouldn’t know that by its latest quarter, however, as Carnival reported much better-than-expected earnings despite a 2.3% net revenue reduction. Lower fuel costs definitely helped, as well as the fact that it repurchased 2.3 million shares of its common stock.

Ultimately, Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) is a mess. It lowered its fiscal 2013 EPS outlook down to a range of $1.80-$2.10 to take into account the repairs needed to the Triumph, but may need to lower its estimates even further as its fleet slowly unravels before consumers’ eyes.

If you are going to venture into the cruise ship sector, may I suggest ditching Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL) for good and buying conglomerate The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). Disney’s brand name and safety record have allowed it to stay ahead of the cruise ship backlash curve and remained booked well in advance of the crucial summer months. Plus, you get the added bonus of media and theme park diversification — as well as a handsome dividend.