Priceline Group Inc.'s stock dropped 6.2% in premarket trade Monday, after the online travel booking company beat third-quarter profit expectations, but provided a downbeat fourth-quarter outlook. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, earnings rose to $1.2 billion, or $23.41 a share, from $1.1 billion, or $20.03 a share. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $25.35, beating the FactSet consensus of $24.21. Revenue rose to $3.1 billion from $2.84 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.05 billion, as better-than-expected agency revenue helped offset slight misses in merchant and advertising and other revenue. Gross bookings increased to $14.78 billion from $13.82 billion, just shy of the FactSet consensus of $14.85 billion. For the fourth quarter, Priceline expects adjusted EPS of $11.10 to $11.90, below the FactSet consensus of $12.42. Total bookings are expected to rise 1% to 8%, while the FactSet consensus of $12.06 billion implies growth of 13%. The stock had climbed 27% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 2%.
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