Priceline.com (PCLN) Delivers Yet Again

Priceline.com (PCLN) continues to astound me with it’s performance. Since the August lows, it has doubled… after having a stellar 2009 and early 2010. I was a mega bull on this name a long while back but in this case I certainly left the train far too early and left a ton on the table, as the stock has gone so much farther than I anticipated. Despite being a momentum stock with heightened expectations for much of the past year and a half, each of the last 3 quarters the stock has gapped up on earnings which is a rare thing to do, three times in a row.

Analysts were in fro $3.09 but the company was able to beat that by 31 cents. They also guided up for the next year.

Via IBD:

  • Priceline late Wednesday reported Q4 profit that shattered analyst views, but sales just missed as airline ticket revenue slipped.  Still, the name-your-price online travel site guided profit and sales above analyst views for the current quarter.
  • The Norwalk, Conn.-based company said it earned $3.40 a share minus special items last quarter, up 71% from the year-ago quarter. That beat by 31 cents the estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. In Q3, Priceline beat by 36 cents.
  • Sales surged 35% to $731 million, but still missed analyst expectations for $734.9 million.
  • Gross bookings, the value of all travel services bought by customers, jumped 44.2% to $3.26 billion in Q4, led by a 64.9% surge in international gross travel bookings. Domestic bookings rose 8.5%.
  • Hotel room nights booked surged 50.6% worldwide, but airline ticket bookings fell 2.3%.
  • “This company continues to execute,” said Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Scott Kessler. “Priceline has demonstrated time and again that they are the best operator in (online travel).”
  • “Their growth strategy in Europe is working for them better than anyone else in the industry,” said Morningstar analyst Warren Miller.

Guidance:

  • For Q1, Priceline expects to earn $2.34 to $2.44 a share minus items, on a 29% to 34% increase in sales. Analysts were expecting EPS of $2.30 on a 27% revenue rise.
  • Boyd said he expects “some deceleration” in Priceline’s international growth “due to the sheer size of the (online) travel business” and hard-to-beat comparisons as the world economy recovers.
  • Analysts say Priceline’s risks in 2011 include whatever impact Middle East tensions will have on travel and fuel costs.

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About Mark Hanna 543 Articles

Affiliation: Hanna Capital, LLC

Mark Hanna is President and Owner of Hanna Capital, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm. Mark has been a follower of markets since the late 80s, with a focus on individual equities since the mid 90s. He has been a well known commentator in the financial blogosphere for the past 5 years, following a career in corpoporate finance and accounting. Mark attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with a degree in Economics.

As an avid reader, Market Montage is the personal blogging site for Mark to share his views on economics, markets, and the like. Occasional cynicism and wit shall be deployed in his postings.

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