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Will This Upgrade Help Priceline.com (PCLN) Today? (Update)

Stocks in this article: PCLN

Update (9:55 a.m.): Updated with Wednesday market open information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jefferies raised its target price on Priceline.com  (PCLN) to $1,475, raised its estimates and set a "buy" rating. The firm noted stable growth in the Americas and improvement in Europe.

"Global travel trends remain choppy but we are encouraged by continuing improvement in Europe and stable growth in the Americas," Jefferies wrote in a research note. "While seasonally soft, 4Q13 shapes up to be a good quarter for OTAs. We expect another beat quarter from Priceline (our top OTA pick) on solid unit growth. We also believe that guidance was conservative again and that sustained int'l growth keeps driving strong results."

The stock was flat at $1,301 shortly after the market opened on Wednesday.

Must Read: 3 Stocks Boosting The Leisure Industry Higher

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PRICELINE.COM INC as a "buy" with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PRICELINE.COM INC (PCLN) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 15.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 33.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.00, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 34.81% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 81.21% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, PCLN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • PRICELINE.COM INC has improved earnings per share by 34.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PRICELINE.COM INC increased its bottom line by earning $27.71 versus $20.65 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($41.20 versus $27.71).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Internet & Catalog Retail industry average. The net income increased by 39.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $596.59 million to $832.99 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PCLN Ratings Report

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