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Why Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) is Flying on Thursday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) shares are flying after the online travel agent reported earnings and sales above consensus.

By midmorning, the stock has added 28.7% to $8.89.

In the three months to December, the Chicago-based company recorded per-share earnings of 5 cents, compared to a loss of $2.96 a share a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected break-even earnings.

"Investments in our global technology platform enabled each of our businesses to accelerate in the strategically important hotel segment while also achieving operating efficiencies," said CEO Barney Harford in a statement.

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Revenue jumped 4% to $197.4 million, boosted by an 18% increase in hotel room nights stayed and 16% increase in vacation packages booked. Revenue from airline tickets dropped 11% from the year-ago quarter, due to lower air transaction volumes and lower revenue per transaction.

"Looking forward to 2014 and beyond, our strategic initiatives in the areas of loyalty, mobile and international expansion position us well to deliver continued strong growth in Adjusted EBITDA as we seek to make our brands the world's most rewarding places to plan and purchase travel on touch devices," added Harford.

For the first quarter ending March, management forecasts revenue of $202 million to $207 million, slightly below estimates of $207.3 million. Full-year sales percentage growth is expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates ORBITZ WORLDWIDE INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ORBITZ WORLDWIDE INC (OWW) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share."

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