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Norwegian Cruise shares rise on strong 4Q results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fresh off of its initial public offering last month, shares of Norwegian Cruise Line hit new highs Tuesday after swinging to a profit in the fourth quarter and issuing a strong outlook.

THE SPARK: The company said late Monday that it earned $1.1 million, or 1 cent per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. Excluding a $4.5 million compensation charge related to a former CEO, the company earned 4 cents per share.

The Miami company also predicted a first-quarter profit of 2 to 5 cents per share and full-year earnings of $1.20 to $1.40 per share.

THE BIG PICTURE: Norwegian joined other publicly traded cruise operators including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corp. on Jan. 18. Its shares were priced at $19 per share and skyrocketed at their debut.

In the weeks since, the shares have gained about 46 percent.

THE ANALYSIS: Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steven Wieczynski backed his "Buy" rating for the company saying that the adjusted fourth-quarter profit was better than he expected and calling the company's full-year outlook "encouraging."

THE SHARES: Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd. rose 3 percent, or 92 cents, to $28.60 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $29.50 and passing its previous high of $29.08.