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Booking shares slip on weak outlook

Shares of Booking Holdings (BKNG) were down 8% after the closing bell as the second quarter earnings outlook failed to meet analyst estimates.

Booking reported better-than-expected first quarter results. Gross bookings jumped 21% to $25 billion due to strong performance from the Merchant front. Revenue came in at $2.9 billion, up 25%, due to double-digit growth in agency, merchant and advertising sales. Booking, which rechristened from Priceline Group last quarter, saw its earnings grow 21% to $12 per share, beating analyst estimates. Revenue and earnings beat street estimates.

The online travel firm gets majority of its revenues from agency revenues. Agency revenues increased 18% to $2.1 billion over prior-year period. Adjusted EBITDA saw 26% growth in the quarter touching $798 million.

First quarter 2018 earnings of Booking Holdings, formerly Priceline

The company’s room nights volume increased 13.2% year-over-year. In addition, rental car days saw a modest growth of 0.6% and airline tickets booked grew 1.9% compared to last year.

Last month, Booking announced that it has acquired local events reservation platform FareHarbor for an undisclosed amount. This deal helps the company enter into the local events reservation space, which helps it to compete with its peers. Local activity space is witnessing lot of action recently as millennials are interested in exploring places and events which are in close proximity, when they are on vacation.

Booking wants to be an end-to-end provider for travelers who want to globetrot. It already takes care of travel, food and accommodation of its users. The only missing piece was helping travelers explore and book any local experiences. With FareHarbor in its kitty, Booking now has filled that gap.

For the second quarter, revenue is expected to grow between 11.5% and 15.5% on total gross travel bookings growth of 10% to 14%. Room nights booked are projected to increase 7% to 11%. Adjusted earnings is expected between $16.35 to $17.00 per share, while adjusted EBITDA is forecasted to be between $1.08 billion to $1.1 billion.

Booking Holdings shares are up 26% this year, touching new high in March.

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