UPDATE: Bullish Priceline (PCLN) Analyst Shows Concern About RevPAR in Europe, Shares Lower

March 27, 2012 11:50 AM EDT
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(Updated - March 27, 2012 12:19 PM EDT)

Doug Kass is highlighting a negative call by Piper Jaffray's Michael Olson on the online travel agent group Tuesday morning. Amid the research note, shares of Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) are down 0.3 percent to $733.29, Orbitz (NYSE: OWW) shares are down 0.9 percent, and shares of Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE) are down 2.4 percent.

Olson is concerned with a slowdown in revPAR within the European market over February. Recent checks suggest the metric is flat on a year-over-year basis, the first time growth hasn't occurred since all the way back to the end of 2009. The analyst noted European web traffic to these online agents has slowed during the first quarter through February.

Olson specifically pointed to a sharp decline in unique visitors to Priceline's booking.com: from growth of 61 percent during the fourth quarter to growth of just 40 percent during the first quarter through last month.

The analyst maintains an Overweight rating and $763 price target on shares of Priceline.com. Olson has Expedia at Overweight and Orbitz and TripAdvisor (Nasdaq: TRIP) at Neutral.

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