Here’s Why Priceline’s Monstrous Profits Weren’t Enough For Investors

Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ:PCLN) reported late Wednesday first-quarter profit 73 percent higher than in the year-ago period, thanks to strong growth in overall bookings.

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Profit for the three months ended March 31 rose to $181.8 million, or $3.54 per share, from $104.8 million, or $2.05 per share, a year earlier. Adjusted to exclude one-time items, the online travel site earned $221 million, or $4.28 a share. Third-quarter revenue rose 28 percent to $1.04 billion, from $809.3 million in the year-ago period. Total bookings were up 43.9 percent to $6.7 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected Priceline to earn $3.95 a share on $1.04 billion in revenue.

Priceline said it expects to earn between $7.20 and $7.40 per share in the second quarter. Analysts have projected EPS of $7.39 for the April through June period. Priceline predicted second-quarter growth in travel bookings of 26 percent to 31 percent. That relatively weak guidance had shares trading slightly lower this afternoon, down nearly 2 percent.

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