Earnings Recap: Priceline, Fluor And Dean Foods All Head Lower

Priceline (PCLN): Shares plunge on weak guidance.

Earnings: Q1 profits of $1.70/share vs. $1.66 consensus and $1.09 for the same period last year.

Revenue: Up 26.5% year-over-year to $584.4 million vs. $597 million consensus estimates.

CEO Jeff Boyd stressed that despite short-term challenges, Priceline’s businesses continue to demonstrate strong growth, stating that, “in the face of numerous challenging external events that over time affect all international travel businesses, our business has been resilient again because of the underlying forces that make the business grow,” during a conference call with analysts.

One such analyst added that, “even with the volcano and the slide in the euro, Priceline still has one of the fastest-growing Internet businesses overall.”

Comment: Shares are off greater than 12% during after-hours trading due to weak EPS guidance for Q2, which came in at $2.50/share – $2.70/share vs. estimates of $2.83/share.  The guidance was soft due to a myriad of international events that have threatened to disrupt the travel plans of potential customers.  PCLN has expanded aggressively in Europe and Asia, leaving it now more exposed than rivals Expedia Inc. (EXPE) and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW) to a weaker euro, the Greek financial crisis, the Iceland volcano and political unrest in Thailand.

Fluor Corp. (FLR): Feeling some pressure following revenue shortfall.

Earnings: Q1 profits of $0.76 vs. $0.74 consensus and $1.12 for the same period last year.

Revenue: Down 15% to $4.92 billion vs. $5.05 billion consensus.

“Fluor’s results for the quarter are consistent with our expectations for a delayed recovery as we go through 2010,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alan Boeckmann.

Comment: Revenue from the oil-and-gas segment, the company’s largest, decreased 37% as profit slumped 54%.  In the industrial and infrastructure segment, revenue climbed 5.7% while profit rose 13%.  On the whole, gross margins fell from 6% to 5.3%.  Shares are down nearly 4% after-hours.

Dean Foods (DF): Down more than 28% on much weaker-than-expected guidance.

Earnings: Q1 profits of $0.23/share vs. consensus estimates of $0.28/share.

Revenue: $2.97 billion vs. consensus estimates of $2.93 billion.

Competition in the dairy products market has become so fierce that it, “makes it difficult to provide accurate guidance beyond the immediate quarter,” said the company.

Comment: Q2 guidance came in at $0.23 – $0.28 vs. estimates of $0.41, a huge miss by any measure.  This is what pushed shares down 28.43% to $10.47 during Monday’s trading session.  The price war in dairy may hurt DF’s profits by $100 million this year.  The company is embarking on an aggressive cost-cutting (read: firing) campaign to try to lessen the blow.

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