Inc (PCLN) Shares Near $1,000, Hedge Funds Profit

Updated on Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) shares rose more than 6 percent in premarket trading to beat its previous all-time high of $990 per share, which was set in April 1999. This comes after the company reported a 38 percent spike in travel bookings during the second quarter. The stock is a favorite among hedge funds. Inc (PCLN) Shares Near $1,000, Hedge Funds Profit

Priceline posts solid growth

The online travel agency reported a 24 percent increase in net income for the quarter, which rose to $437.3 million or $8.39 per share. That’s compared to $352.3 million or $6.88 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Earnings excluding items rose to $9.70 per share, compared to $7.85 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN)’s revenue climbed 26 percent to $1.68 billion, compared to $1.33 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Analysts had projected that the company’s earnings would be $9.36 per share on revenue of $1.66 billion.

Raymond James raises PT for Priceline

In a report issued to investors after the company’s latest earnings report, Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler reiterated his Outperform rating on the stock and raised his price target to $1,100 per share. He noted the continued share gains posted by Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN), which resulted in a 44 percent year over year acceleration in international bookings and a 12 percent year over year acceleration in domestic bookings.

Kessler also raised his estimates slightly to account for the May acquisition of Kayak Software Corp. He raised his non-GAAP earnings per share estimate for this year from $40.28 to $40.42 per share and his 2014 estimate from $50.01 to $50.22 per share.

Priceline still growing in Europe

Priceline bought in 2005 and has relied on the European travel market to provide much of its growth. Bloombergs Callie Bost and Ari Levy report that the company’s positive European growth has gone on in spite of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain receiving bailouts during the continent’s financial crisis. International bookings rose to $8.6 billion from $6 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) is actually doing better than its biggest rival, Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE). Expedia missed consensus estimates last month, and its stock fell 27 percent as the company blamed it on weakness in southern Europe and falling traffic from Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP). Overall, Priceline shares have risen more than 50 percent so far this year, while Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) has fallen 17 percent.

In June it was revealed that Priceline is tied with American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) as the top hedge fund holding.

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