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Booking Holdings's Q4 Alleviates Structural Concerns About Online Travel, Analyst Says

Booking Holdings's Q4 Alleviates Structural Concerns About Online Travel, Analyst Says
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Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), formerly Priceline, is back on track with a fourth-quarter earnings beat.

The Analyst

Credit Suisse's Paul Bieber maintains an Outperform rating on Booking Holdings and raised the price target from $2,260 to $2,300.

The Thesis

Booking Holdings turned in a "very strong" Q4 that saw 20-percent EPS upside and better-than-expected room night growth of 17 percent year-over-year.

“Given high-teens room night growth and performance marketing efficiencies, Q4 results should dispel concerns [about] structural issues in online travel,” Bieber said. 

Priceline’s brand is well-known in the US, but has more recognition globally.

A strong return on investment from meta and search advertising, as well as direct bookings, drove the earnings upside, Bieber said. 

“Commentary on a test-and-learn approach to TV advertising was also positive in our view, given concerns about a step function increase in TV advertising mix over the coming years." 

Some sell-side analysts were cautious heading into the Q4 print, as competitor Airbnb recently announced the company was rolling out direct hotel bookings on its platform. Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel shot down the potential threat of competition from Airbnb in an interview with Bloomberg. 

“I don’t see that one company coming in and saying they’re going to offer a small number of select hotel type properties as a big issue,” Fogel said. “We’ve been facing competition of all sorts for a long time.”

Price Action

Shares were relatively flat on Wednesday, at last check trading down 0.07 percent at $1,905.64. 

Related Links:

MKM Partners: Priceline Has Strong Fundamentals, But Wait For Bookings Growth, Better PE Ratio

Morgan Stanley Debunks 3 Bear Myths Haunting The Online Travel Space 

Latest Ratings for BKNG

Jan 2019JefferiesDowngradesBuyHold
Jan 2019Morgan StanleyDowngradesOverweightEqual-Weight
Nov 2018Wells FargoUpgradesMarket PerformOutperform

View More Analyst Ratings for BKNG
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Credit Suisse Glenn FogelAnalyst Color Price Target Reiteration Travel Analyst Ratings General Best of Benzinga


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