As good as things have been for Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG), at least one Wall Street pro sees things getting even better. Oppenheimer analyst Jed Kelly is bumping his price target from $2,275 to $2,500. Despite some recently iffy performance metrics by lesser travel sites, there's market enthusiasm for the company formerly known as Priceline as it heads into next week's critical earnings report. Booking Holdings reports first-quarter results after Wednesday's market close.
Kelly sees marketplace trends shifting in Booking's favor, as performance marketing headwinds moderate, allowing it to improve what it has to shell out for leads as well as its search profile. Kelly is naturally sticking to his bullish outperform rating. His new price goal implies 16% of upside from here.
Last call for boarding
It's naturally a good sign when an analyst is getting more optimistic ahead of an earnings report. Oppenheimer's Kelly wouldn't be jacking up his price target days before a quarterly release unless he was confident that the market will appreciate the report.
He's not alone. Late last week, it was Michael Olson at Piper Jaffray raising his price goal from $2,100 to $2,300. He feels that European stability -- a big deal since Booking.com generates the lion's share of its revenue there -- will help prop up next week's quarterly numbers. He sees Booking Holdings once again offering up conservative guidance for the current quarter, and he feels that the stock will continue to be a winner even if the guidance winds up being slightly below where his peers are perched with their second-quarter forecasts.
Wall Street is holding out for another period of double-digit top-line growth in next week's report. Analysts see revenue rising 18.5% to $2.87 billion. Revenue has risen at a double-digit clip in 11 of the past 12 years, and that one off year still treated investors to a 9% gain. The same analysts see earnings per share rising a mere 8% to $10.67, but keep in mind that Booking Holdings routinely smokes through Wall Street profit targets.
Booking Holdings remains a market winner, and another strong quarter should help it take out the all-time highs it hit in mid-March. It has been a master at building up its business as it collects smaller pieces. Consolidation is the name of the game here as Booking Holdings has snapped up meta-search star Kayak, restaurant reservations specialist OpenTable, and several international travel sites. Just last month, it announced a deal for local entertainment and tour activity booking site FareHarbor.