Priceline Plunges on Weak Outlook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Priceline.com ( PCLN) shares plunged 3.97% to $708.20 after the online travel company posted earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, but posted guidance that was weaker than anticipated.

For the second-quarter of 2013, Priceline said it's expecting a year-over-year increase in total gross travel bookings of approximately 30% to 37%, with international gross travel bookings of rising approximately 36% to 43%. It expects adjusted EBITDA to be between $560 million and $595 million, with non-GAAP earnings per share between $8.87 and $9.45. Wall Street analysts are expecting $9.58 per share.

The Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline posted earnings of $5.76 per share on $1.3 billion in revenue in its first quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for $5.27 per share on $1.275 billion in revenue.

"Unit growth in the Priceline Group's global hotel business held steady in the 1st quarter at 38% versus the prior year," said Jeffery H. Boyd, Chairman and CEO of the Priceline Group in the press release. "International gross bookings growth of 43% in the 1st quarter reflects continued strong performance of our international brands around the world. Domestic gross bookings growth accelerated in the quarter with improving results in our hotel and rental car businesses, aided by the roll out last year of our Express Deals SM semi-opaque service."

Shares of Priceline gained 0.3% during Thursday's trading session to finish at $737.50.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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