Priceline takes a hit from strong dollar

By Bill Fallon

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The dollar’s strength recently – up versus the euro by about 2.5 percent since last week – has tanked commodity prices and affected Norwalk-based The Priceline Group Inc., which recently offered a soft outlook for the current quarter, according to multiple online sources.

For its current quarter, the travel services company is forecasting per-share earnings of $10.95 and $11.75; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast $13.10 a share in earnings, according to a reports from MarketWatch and Bloomberg. Revenue is expected to be flat to up 7 percent, while analysts had forecast 9 percent growth.

That comes as bookings growth slowed in the first quarter to 12 percent from 34 percent growth in the 2014 period.

In February, the opposite was true, with company CEO Darren Huston saying, “If you haven’t gone to Europe or Japan, now’s a great time.” He also said at the time, “When currencies move, it changes behavior.”

International bookings were up 14 percent to $12.1 billion; domestic bookings were up 2.1 percent. Priceline reported 25.4 percent growth in hotel room units sold; airline seats fell in sales 3.2 percent.

Overall for the quarter ended March 31, Priceline reported a profit of $333.3 million, or $6.36 a share, up from $331.2 million, or $6.25 a share, a year earlier.

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About the author

Bill Fallon
Bill Fallon is editor of the Fairfield County Business Journal. He has worked at Westfair Communications for more than five years, previously editing an upstate New York daily and a national motorcycle magazine in Nevada. He attended Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., and the University of Virginia.
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