Stock Market Today: Priceline Trounces Estimates as AMC Comes up Short

Why Priceline and AMC Networks stocks are on the move today.

May 8, 2014 at 9:00AM

After a rough start to 2014, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has rallied by almost 7% since February, and the nation's premier blue-chip index is now within just a few points of cracking back into positive territory for the year. This session might do the trick, though the Dow was down a slim 13 points in pre-market trading.

Dozens of public companies post earnings results throughout the day today, with Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) and AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) having already delivered their numbers.

Priceline beat some lofty expectations this morning. Quarterly sales for the online travel giant improved by 26% to $1.64 billion as hotel bookings surged. That revenue result put the company just ahead of the $1.63 billion that analysts were targeting. It's impressive growth for such a large company to post, sure. But investors will want to keep an eye on the rate of revenue growth, which has now slowed for three consecutive quarters: it was 33% two quarters ago and 29% last quarter. Shareholders can't complain about Priceline's profits this quarter, though. Net income climbed by 40% and overall earnings of $7.81 a share crushed Wall Street's estimates of $6.92. Meanwhile, the company gave a somewhat light forecast for next quarter's profit, calling for roughly $11.62 a share, below analysts' $12.27 target. The stock was down 3.7% in pre-market trading.

Walking Dead

AMC Networks today posted a 37% spike in first-quarter revenue to $525 million, a solid beat over Wall Street's expectation of $507 million in sales. The jump was fueled by big advertising gains that came from the continued popularity of programming such as The Walking Dead, which boosted viewership by 24% in its fourth season. However, profit grew slower than revenue in the quarter, rising to just $0.99 a share as expenses cut into earnings. Analysts were expecting profit of closer to $1.16 a share. Still, in a press release accompanying the results, CEO Josh Sapan highlighted AMC's international business, calling it a "springboard for additional growth for the company in the years ahead." That unit's sales jumped higher by 600% in the quarter, and it is now responsible for roughly 15% of AMC's revenue. The stock was unchanged in pre-market trading.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AMC Networks and Priceline Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of 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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