Overcoming the bigger bearish tide that's shellacking most stocks, Booking Holdings (BKNG 2.19%) shares are higher by 4.1% as of 12:16 p.m. ET today, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The bullishness is in response to an earnings beat coupled with an optimistic outlook for summertime travel.
Booking Holdings turned $2.7 billion worth of revenue into an operating profit of $3.90 per share for the three-month stretch ending in March. That top line is 136% better than the year-ago tally -- when travel demand was still crimped by the COVID-19 pandemic -- and earnings swung from a loss of $5.26. Moreover, those figures are better than analysts' expectations for the company's fiscal first quarter.
The real star of the show, however, is Booking Holdings' expectation for a continued recovery in leisure travel. CEO Glenn Fogel commented with the release of Booking's first-quarter numbers, "Despite an uncertain macroeconomic environment, we have seen continued strengthening of global travel trends so far in the second quarter of 2022, and we are preparing for a busy summer travel season ahead."
Last quarter's numbers and the forward-looking view mostly jibe with those of fellow leisure travel company Marriott International (MAR 3.38%). Though Marriott shares didn't follow Booking Holdings' stock higher today, they did soar yesterday on the hotel chain's earnings beat, which was driven by a swell of demand. Though it only expects 2022's full-year results to be comparable to 2019's, CEO Anthony Capuano's assessment that "it's going to be a blockbuster summer" for travel still resonates with investors who can look past today's marketwide drubbing.
Congratulations to any Booking Holdings shareholders who have stuck with the stock for the past few volatile, mostly bearish months. Today's gains are a hint that shares are nearer more consistent gains driven by more predictable results.
On balance, though, neither the earnings and outlook headlines nor the stock's defiant advance are quite convincing enough to make this name a solid enough bet for most prospective buyers. While consumers are certainly feeling the proverbial itch to travel, a great number of headwinds could easily start to blow again, upending this stock once more.