) -- Are better days ahead for the travel industry? If
third-quarter results are any indication, the answer is "yes."
The online reservations agent reported a 23% surge in third-quarter profit and, more importantly, foresees an increase in bookings going forward.
Even while prices for airline tickets and hotel rooms continued to soften, Expedia said it earned $117 million, or 40 cents a share, in the third quarter, up from the $94.8 million, or 33 cents a share, it reported in the year-ago period.
Excluding one-time items, the company said it would have earned 48 cents a share, surpassing the 43 cents Wall Street analysts were expecting.
Revenue inched up 2% to $852.4 million, as gross bookings grew by 9% year-over-year.
Like most travel companies, Expedia has been cutting its fees and offering promotions to entice price-conscious consumers stung by the recession.
will release its quarterly results on Nov. 9.
In late-morning trading Thursday, Expedia shares rose 3% to $25.10 on volume of 11 million shares, nearly triple the daily average turnover in the name.
--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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