Why Priceline Group Inc. Stock Dropped Today

By Steve SymingtonFool.com

What:Shares ofPriceline Group inc.fell more than 10% early Monday after the online travel company released stronger-than-expected third-quarter 2015 results, but followed with disappointing guidance.

So what:Quarterly revenue rose 9.4% year over year to $3.1 billion, including an 11.7% increase in agency revenue to $2.35 billion, a 2.8% decline in merchant revenue to just under $597 million, and a 30.3% increase in revenue from advertising and other sources. Gross bookings rose 7% year over year (22% on a constant-currency basis) to $14.8 billion. And booking.com, in particular, continued to gain momentum, growing its number of properties 38% year over year to more than 820,000.

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Meanwhile, that translated to 12% growth in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $1.6 billion, a 10.3% increase in adjusted net income to $1.3 billion, and a 14.4% jump in adjusted net income per share to $25.35.

Analysts, on average, were anticipating lower revenue of $3.05 billion, and adjusted earnings of just $24.23 per share.

Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston noted the company achieved strong growth and operating results in its high travel season, then elaborated, "We continue to be the most valuable platform in the world exclusively dedicated to this pursuit. We will continue to focus on making the right investments across our six brands -- in people, systems, and demand -- to continue to profitably grow our business."

Now what:For the current quarter, however, Priceline expects revenue to increase roughly 1% to 8%, which should result in adjusted EBITDA of $710 million to $760 million, and adjusted net income per share between $11.10 and $11.90. Analysts, for their part, were modeling fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $12.42 per share, and an 11.2% increase in revenue to $2.05 billion.

It's worth noting, however, that Priceline management was largely upbeat about their prospects and future growth in the subsequent conference call, and effectively voiced few concerns over the relative strength of the business. In addition, keep in mind Priceline has a long-standing habit of under-promising and over-delivering on its own guidance. So in the end, I think opportunistic investors might do well to seize today's drop as a chance to open or add to a position in this market-leading business.

The article Why Priceline Group Inc. Stock Dropped Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Priceline Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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