Benchmark Weighs Pros And Cons Of Booking Holdings Heading Into 2020

Booking Holdings Inc BKNG shares are at a crossroads heading in 2020.

The Analyst

Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos maintains a Hold rating on Booking's stock.

The Thesis

Kurnos weighed both sides of Booking Holdings catalysts heading into the upcoming year.

On one hand, the analyst believes room-night growth will likely exceed 10% in 2019, setting up a fairly easy comparison in 2020.

However, Kurnos says other analysts have also joined him on the sidelines in the past few quarters, during a time where the company is transitioning from a growth to a value stock.

“Under historical circumstances, this would be a prime setup for a strong 12 month return period,” he wrote in a note.

Conversely, Kurnos added that management’s hesitancy to spend for growth remains a significant overhang and shows no signs of changing any time soon.

“The lack of brand spend in particular, along with a muted focus on loyalty and ongoing challenges in both paid and customer acquisition and the alternative lodging supply acquisition channel seem likely to keep gross bookings and revenue growth in the mid-high-single digits,” he said.

With all things considered, Kurnos feels risk remains to the downside in the short term for Booking Holdings, with fundamental upside limited.

Price Action

Booking Holdings shares traded up 0.62% to $1,849.34 at time of publication.

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