Priceline (PCLN) Soars After Blowout Quarter

Shares of Inc. (PCLN) soared Wednesday to a 10-year high following the co.’s better-than-expected earnings and upside guidance. The second-biggest online travel agency reported revenues in the 2nd quarter of $767.4 million, a 27.1% increase over a year ago.

Priceline said its profit nearly doubled to $115 million, or $2.26 a share, in the quarter that ended in late June. That’s up more than 70% from last year’s net income of $67.1 million, or $1.38 per share.

Priceline’s bookings in Q2 were $3.4 billion, an increase of 43.3% over a year ago. The co.’s international operations contributed revenues in the 2nd quarter of $322.6 million, a 63.3% increase on a y/y basis. Meanwhile, Priceline’s gross profit for the 2nd quarter came in at $445.3 million, a 45.9% increase from the prior year.

On a per share basis, the company is forecasting third-quarter 2010 GAAP net income of $4.06 to $4.26. That compares with analysts’ average estimate of $4.18 per share. The strong earnings results prompted PCLN to spike more than 20% in early trading to a 52-wkh of $286.85 as several Wall Street brokerage houses raised their price targets.

“Second quarter performance by the Priceline group of companies was once again driven by strong growth in our global hotel reservations, where we believe we gained market share for another quarter,” said in a statement Jeffery H. Boyd, Priceline’s President and CEO.

Priceline gained $50.92, or 22.08%, to $283.05 rtq. at 1:11 E.T. in Nasdaq trading. The ticker was the top performer in both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100.

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