Is Priceline a Worthwhile Investment?

With shares of Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) trading around $803, is PCLN an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Priceline is an online travel company that offers its customers hotel room reservations at a growing number of hotels worldwide through the Booking.com, priceline.com, and Agoda brands. In the United States, the company also offers its customers reservations for car rentals, airline tickets, vacation packages, destination services, and cruises through the priceline.com brand. It offers car rental reservations worldwide through rentalcars.com. Companies like Priceline are well-positioned to accommodate consumers with travel arrangements at competitive prices into the future. As economies grow and continue to recover, consumers worldwide are looking at travel as an excellent way to spend discretionary income.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Strong

Priceline stock has seen an explosive move higher over the last few years. The stock is trading at all-time high prices and sees no signs of slowing. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Priceline is trading above its rising key averages, which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.

PCLN

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(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Priceline options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Priceline Options

23.36%

10%

11%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a minimal amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

June Options

Flat

Average

July Options

Flat

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a minimal amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Priceline’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Priceline look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

2012 Q2

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

34.58%

27.50%

27.15%

37.05%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

25.52%

20.17%

17.45%

20.32%

Earnings Reaction

3.78%

2.56%

8.29%

-17.28%

Priceline has seen increasing earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these figures, the markets have been pleased with Priceline’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Priceline stock done relative to its peers, Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO), and sector?

Priceline

Expedia

TripAdvisor

Travelzoo

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

29.75%

-0.91%

42.87%

49.13%

20.35%

Priceline has been an average performer, year-to-date.

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Conclusion

Priceline provides online accommodation and travel arrangements to consumers across the globe. The stock has been flying higher over the last few years and is now trading at all-time high prices. Earnings and revenue figures have been steadily growing over the last four quarters, which has kept investors upbeat. Relative to its peers and sector, Priceline has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Priceline to OUTPERFORM.

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