Thursday, February 24, 2011

Priceline.com (PCLN) Delivers Yet Again

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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%.
  • Gross margin came in at 65.4%, up from 57.8% a year earlier.
  • "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 the current quarter, the company sees revenue in a range of $753 million to $782 million, and EPS in a range of $2.34 to $2.44. Analysts have been modeling $742 million in revenue and EPS of $2.30.
  • 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.

    [Aug 3, 2010: Priceline Rides Foreign Markets for Huge Earnings Beat]
    [Feb 23, 2010: IBD - Could Priceline.com and Expedia Hit Headwinds?]
    [Feb 18, 2010: Priceline.com - Another Stellar Earnings Report]
    [Nov 10, 2009: Priceline.com Hits an Earnings Home Run]
    [Aug 10, 2009: Priceline.com - Recession Recsmession! Continued Impressive Results]
    [May 14, 2009: Priceline.com in Investors Business Daily]
    [May 11, 2009: Priceline.com Continues to Execute Well]
    [Feb 19, 2009: Priceline.com Impresses on Earnings]
    [Aug 6, 2008: Priceline.com - Down 17% on Good Earnings?]
    [May 8, 2008: 2 Earnings Reports of Note: AIG (AIG) and Priceline (PCLN)]


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