Priceline Group Inc.'s stock dropped 2.3% in light premarket trade Thursday, after the online travel booking company reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit and sales, but provided a downbeat outlook. For the quarter ended March 31, net earnings rose to $333.3 million, or $6.42 a share, from $331.2 million, or $6.25 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came in at $8.12, beating the FactSet consensus of $7.72. Revenue rose $1.84 billion from $1.64 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.8 billion. Gross travel bookings increased 12% from a year ago, above the company's previously-provided outlook of 2% to 9% growth. For the second quarter, Priceline expects adjusted EPS of $10.95 to $11.75, below the FactSet consensus of $13.13, marking the seventh-straight quarter the company has provided an EPS outlook that was below consensus estimates. The stock has run up 11% year to date through Wednesday, outperforming the S&P 500's 1% gain.
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