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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Priceline, TripAdvisor, Alibaba, Yelp and Fitbit

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 10, 2016 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Priceline (PCLN), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Alibaba (BABA), Yelp (YELP) and Fitbit (FIT).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Tech Stock Roundup

Earnings season is winding down and there were just a few hot companies reporting last week, including Priceline (PCLN), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Alibaba (BABA), Yelp (YELP) and Fitbit ( FIT).

Here are the top stories-

Earnings Reports

Priceline : Online travel agent (OTA) Priceline.com topped first quarter guidance on all counts and easily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate on revenue and earnings . All the key performance metrics were strong. The biggest growth engine, hotel room nights continued to grow strongly, as did rental car days. Air tickets were weaker. Bookings on the agency model (70% of bookings) were up very strong double-digits, an indication of the health of the busness.

Management expects FX to have a negligible impact on second quarter results, but still produced inexplicably weak guidance, especially given that it now also has vacation rental properties (integrated into Booking.com), which grew 40% in the last quarter. But three things could be at play: first that management tends to guide conservatively; second, they are expecting some early bookings related to summer travel to be realized in the third quarter; and third, the travel market is slowing down.

The first one is more likely because the second factor is seasonality and would be roughly comparable year to year making the guidance below-seasonal. The third reason is also unlikely because market research projections point to a strong travel market.

TripAdvisor : Unlike Priceline, TripAdvisor missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both revenue and earnings as both subscription and advertising sales declined. The core Hotel business, which makes up 86% of revenue, was weak, with the Other segment growing. North America was the only region that grew sales. The weakness in Hotels is tied to the rollout of the Instant Booking feature, which defers revenue recognition to when the traveler stays at the hotel rather than when the hotel is booked, which gives the impression that’s ales were weaker. So its impact is less apparent in areas like North America, where it was rolled out first.

Alibaba : The Chinese ecommerce company reported earnings that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate on revenues that surpassed. The last quarter’s results validated Alibaba’s position that a weaker Chinese economy wouldn’t dampen investor appetite to use its services. The company did particularly well in mobile where GMV soared 71% and mobile monthly active users jumped 42%. Cloud revenue, while at just 4% of revenue, grew triple digits.

Yelp : The company’s loss was greater than the Zacks Consensus Estimate while revenue was ahead. But management chose to be optimistic with the statement “We hit a major milestone in the first quarter, surpassing 100 million cumulative reviews.” But it was encouraging to see that local ad revenue grew 40% with local ad accounts growing 34%. Another important metric was app unique devices, which grew 32%.

Fitbit : Fitbit’s top and bottom lines beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimates . The company will however be spending more on R&D (so it can come out with more innovative and cost effective products) and marketing, which is vital for any consumer products company. Apple can come in with a Watch and take immediate market share because it already has a loyal customer base and brand value. For a company of Fitbit’s stature, it’s not just a question of maintaining its brand image but also building it, especially as it targets markets across the world. So these expenses are necessary and not extravagant, certainly no reason to punish the shares.

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PRICELINE.COM (PCLN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TRIPADVISOR INC (TRIP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ALIBABA GROUP (BABA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
YELP INC (YELP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FITBIT INC (FIT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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