The recent sell off in Carnival Corp. has created an opportunity before the cruise operator reports earnings on Monday, according to Stifel. The cruise line operator’s stock was down 13.2% this month, through Thursday’s close. “We absolutely are buyers of CCL shares heading into next week’s EPS release and concurrent disclosure of FY23 guidance,” analyst Steven Wieczynski said in a note on Tuesday. “Expectations for CCL’s initial guide are subdued at best, and we like that setup.” Stifel believes buyside expectations for 2023 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) are in the $4.2 billion range, compared to sellside analysts’ $4.3 billion consensus. Investors understand the current consensus estimate is “somewhat stale,” he said. Based on Carnival’s history of providing super-conservative initial guidance, Wieczynski is forecasting the cruise line’s full-year EBITDA forecast will be $4.0 billion-$4.3 billion. But he doesn’t think the guidance will be viewed negatively given what are already muted investor expectations, and the odds that management commentary may suggest upside for the second half of the year. “We believe CCL and the industry in general are already in a well-booked position for this year, and while there may be a blip in demand due to macro concerns, we don’t believe that blip will be anything concerning/material given the strong pent-up demand for vacations/travel,” he wrote. “We believe CCL management will provide qualitative commentary similar to what was echoed on their last call that indicates demand, pricing and onboard metrics all remain well above 2019 levels.” CCL 5Y mountain Carnival’s five-year performance Carnival’s stock has been volatile since the start of the Covid pandemic, which shut down the cruise industry. Carnival didn’t set sail from the U.S. for more than a yea,r and when it resumed in July 2021, it was with strict safety protocols . The stock lost about 7% in 2021 after plunging nearly 60% in 2022. Shares are up 14.4% so far this year. Wieczynski admits there’s room for error with his call. “This short-term trading call seems pretty simple to us (translation: we will probably be dead wrong),” he said. But long term, he also believes Carnival is a buy, based on the resilience of core consumer demand for the global cruise industry’s offerings. “Based on the changes necessitated by COVID-related financial challenges, we expect CCL to emerge a leaner and more efficient entity, an outcome that should enhance the organization’s ability to generate consistent EPS and FCF growth for years to come,” he said. His price target of $18 implies 95% upside from Thursday’s close. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.