Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Booking (BKNG) to Hold

Booking (NASDAQ:BKNG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Booking Holdings’ increasing booked room nights and strong momentum in global accommodation space are contributing well to its gross bookings growth. Further, robust agency model continues to aid the company’s position in the international markets. Also, strong efforts toward ramping up of merchant business remain positive. We believe secular growth trend in the online travel booking market, growing mobile usage penetration and improving ADRs are tailwinds. Moreover, the company’s strong position in international markets, growth opportunities in the domestic market and good execution of marketing strategies are major positives. However, sluggishness in the rental car days poses risk. Also, rising advertising spend and occupancy tax litigation are concerns. Notably, the stock has underperformed the industry it belongs to in the past one year.”

Other analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Evercore ISI began coverage on shares of Booking in a research note on Monday, October 15th. They set an “in-line” rating and a $1,930.00 price target for the company. Barclays reiterated an “overweight” rating and set a $2,360.00 price target (up previously from $2,300.00) on shares of Booking in a research note on Tuesday, November 6th. Jefferies Financial Group cut shares of Booking from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday. Credit Suisse Group reiterated an “outperform” rating and set a $2,240.00 price target (up previously from $2,100.00) on shares of Booking in a research note on Tuesday, November 6th. Finally, Wedbush set a $2,500.00 price target on shares of Booking and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 6th. Twelve equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nineteen have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. Booking currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $2,145.76.

Shares of NASDAQ BKNG traded down $9.50 during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $1,667.83. The company had a trading volume of 10,986 shares, compared to its average volume of 426,705. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99, a current ratio of 2.41 and a quick ratio of 2.41. The company has a market capitalization of $76.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.63, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.20 and a beta of 1.16. Booking has a 52-week low of $1,606.27 and a 52-week high of $2,228.99.

Booking (NASDAQ:BKNG) last posted its earnings results on Monday, November 5th. The business services provider reported $37.78 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $38.37 by ($0.59). The company had revenue of $4.85 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.81 billion. Booking had a net margin of 19.81% and a return on equity of 26.87%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 9.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $34.43 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Booking will post 89.6 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Booking news, CEO Gillian Tans sold 293 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,872.01, for a total transaction of $548,498.93. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Insiders have sold a total of 882 shares of company stock valued at $1,608,773 over the last 90 days. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. First Hawaiian Bank grew its holdings in shares of Booking by 6.8% during the fourth quarter. First Hawaiian Bank now owns 3,155 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $5,435,000 after buying an additional 200 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue boosted its position in shares of Booking by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 7,594 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $13,078,000 after acquiring an additional 33 shares during the last quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC boosted its position in shares of Booking by 61.5% in the fourth quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC now owns 147 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $253,000 after acquiring an additional 56 shares during the last quarter. Capital Investment Services of America Inc. boosted its position in shares of Booking by 4.2% in the fourth quarter. Capital Investment Services of America Inc. now owns 5,118 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $8,815,000 after acquiring an additional 207 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Moody National Bank Trust Division acquired a new stake in shares of Booking in the fourth quarter worth approximately $53,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.91% of the company’s stock.

About Booking

Booking Holdings Inc, formerly 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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