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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Expedia rose 21 percent after the online travel agency handily topped Wall Street's expectations in its latest quarter.
THE SPARK: Expedia reported net income of 76 cents per share, or 89 cents per share excluding some one-time charges. Analysts were predicting 71 cents per share.
Expedia's core hotel bookings business, which represents 75 percent of its revenue, grew 16 percent on a 22 percent increase in stays. That offset an 8 percent revenue decline in airline ticket revenue. Expedia was also helped by growth in corporate travel fees and advertising sales.
The Bellevue, Wash., company runs 30 travel websites including its namesake, hotwire.com and hotels.com.
THE ANALYSIS: "Expedia fundamentals have clearly improved due to a variety of factors," Citi analyst Mark S. Mahaney said, noting that behind-the-scenes site improvements and growth of the sector as a whole were the main drivers. But Expedia may be gaining a bigger slice of the online travel market, he said. The stock has already accelerated 81 percent this year on its overseas expansion and growth in its hotel offerings.
He kept a "Neutral" rating on the stock, but raised his price target to $53 from $44.
SHARE ACTION: Expedia shares gained $9.62, or 21 percent, to $55.33 in morning trading. Before Friday, Expedia shares had topped off this year at about $50.05, hit in June. Its 12-month high is $65.78, which it hit before it spun off TripAdvisor in December.