AP News

Ahead of the Bell: Expedia

NEW YORK (AP) — Expedia shares jumped in premarket trading Friday after the travel website reported significantly better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

In premarket trading, Expedia Inc. shares rose $8.55, or 13.1 percent, to $73.69 about 20 minutes ahead of the market open.

The company, which runs its namesake site as well as Hotels.com and Hotwire, said late Tuesday that its profit and revenue jumped on increased hotel bookings and revenue from a new venture.

Expedia's gross bookings increased 21 percent and the number of hotel nights stayed by guests increased 25 percent. It also got a boost from increased advertising and media revenue, largely from its acquisition of a controlling stake in German hotel search site Trivago in March.

Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos reaffirmed his "Buy" rating for Expedia's stock and boosted his price target by $10 to $83. He said the fourth-quarter results show that the company can still boost its profitability. Meanwhile, Kurnos noted its presence still remains limited in emerging markets, which could provide a chance for revenue growth.

But Stifel Nicolaus' Michael Purcell backed his "Hold" rating, saying that while the results were slightly better than expected, his expectations for the company's future profits haven't changed much over the last year.

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