Priceline Group (PCLN) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday. The firm presently has a $2,074.00 price target on the business services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 12.00% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Priceline.com is benefiting from continued momentum in both agency and merchant businesses. Room nights and Rental cars have performed impressively. We remain positive about the secular growth trend in the online travel booking market, Priceline’s strong position in international markets, growth opportunities in the domestic market, good execution, prudent marketing strategy and strong financial position are positives. At the same time, weaker ADRs and airline tickets, macro headwinds, increasing advertising spend and occupancy tax-related litigation remain overhangs. Over the last 12-month period, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to.”

PCLN has been the subject of a number of other reports. KeyCorp reissued a “hold” rating on shares of Priceline Group in a research report on Thursday, November 16th. Morgan Stanley reissued an “overweight” rating and issued a $2,100.00 target price (up from $2,050.00) on shares of Priceline Group in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. BidaskClub cut Priceline Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th. Royal Bank of Canada upped their target price on Priceline Group from $2,050.00 to $2,100.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Finally, Needham & Company LLC reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $2,000.00 target price (down from $2,200.00) on shares of Priceline Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twenty-two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $2,010.80.

Shares of Priceline Group (NASDAQ PCLN) traded up $28.27 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $1,851.81. The company had a trading volume of 556,100 shares, compared to its average volume of 501,640. The firm has a market cap of $91,720.00, a PE ratio of 25.95, a PEG ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.39. The company has a current ratio of 2.52, a quick ratio of 2.52 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68. Priceline Group has a 1 year low of $1,516.00 and a 1 year high of $2,067.99.

Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) last announced its earnings results on Monday, November 6th. The business services provider reported $35.22 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $34.31 by $0.91. The firm had revenue of $4.43 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.34 billion. Priceline Group had a return on equity of 33.02% and a net margin of 29.20%. The business’s revenue was up 20.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $29.69 EPS. research analysts forecast that Priceline Group will post 74.42 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Gillian Tans sold 123 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1,715.78, for a total value of $211,040.94. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Jan L. Docter sold 1,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,764.52, for a total value of $2,117,424.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 142 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $250,561.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,567 shares of company stock valued at $2,781,444 over the last ninety days. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Harvest Fund Management Co. Ltd purchased a new position in Priceline Group in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $101,000. Horan Capital Advisors LLC. purchased a new position in Priceline Group during the third quarter worth $103,000. Mountain Capital Investment Advisors Inc purchased a new position in Priceline Group during the second quarter worth $133,000. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. increased its position in Priceline Group by 8.7% during the second quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 75 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $140,000 after buying an additional 6 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pathstone Family Office LLC increased its position in Priceline Group by 135.9% during the second quarter. Pathstone Family Office LLC now owns 92 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,041,000 after buying an additional 53 shares in the last quarter. 94.39% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Priceline Group

The Priceline Group Inc is a provider of travel and restaurant online reservation and related services. The Company, through its online travel companies (OTCs), connects consumers wishing to make travel reservations with providers of travel services across the world. It offers consumers an array of accommodation reservations (including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, apartments, vacation rentals and other properties) through its Booking.com, priceline.com and agoda.com brands.

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