The Priceline Group (PCLN) Downgraded by Argus to Hold

The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) was downgraded by investment analysts at Argus from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Friday, MarketBeat reports. They currently have a $1,739.71 price target on the business services provider’s stock, up from their prior price target of $1,459.49. Argus’ price target would indicate a potential upside of 0.25% from the stock’s previous close. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the stock. KeyCorp restated a “hold” rating on shares of The Priceline Group in a research report on Thursday, November 16th. Barclays restated an “overweight” rating on shares of The Priceline Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. UBS restated a “neutral” rating on shares of The Priceline Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Oppenheimer restated a “buy” rating and issued a $1,950.00 price target (down from $2,100.00) on shares of The Priceline Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Finally, Citigroup restated a “buy” rating and issued a $2,050.00 price target on shares of The Priceline Group in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, twenty-four have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $2,011.16.

Shares of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ PCLN) traded down $4.41 during trading on Friday, hitting $1,735.30. 397,707 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 458,800. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.68, a quick ratio of 2.52 and a current ratio of 2.52. The Priceline Group has a 1-year low of $1,459.49 and a 1-year high of $2,067.99. The firm has a market cap of $85,130.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.53, a P/E/G ratio of 1.39 and a beta of 1.43.

The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 6th. The business services provider reported $35.22 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $34.31 by $0.91. The firm had revenue of $4.43 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.34 billion. The Priceline Group had a net margin of 29.20% and a return on equity of 33.02%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 20.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $29.69 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that The Priceline Group will post 74.42 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, Director Jan L. Docter sold 1,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $1,764.52, for a total transaction of $2,117,424.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 142 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $250,561.84. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Gillian Tans sold 123 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $1,715.78, for a total transaction of $211,040.94. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 1,567 shares of company stock valued at $2,790,353. 0.24% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Swiss National Bank increased its stake in The Priceline Group by 2.7% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 179,652 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $336,043,000 after purchasing an additional 4,800 shares in the last quarter. State of New Jersey Common Pension Fund D bought a new stake in The Priceline Group in the third quarter valued at approximately $36,616,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. increased its stake in The Priceline Group by 4.4% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 1,647 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $3,081,000 after purchasing an additional 69 shares in the last quarter. Norinchukin Bank The increased its stake in The Priceline Group by 4.0% in the second quarter. Norinchukin Bank The now owns 5,942 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $11,115,000 after purchasing an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Equitec Proprietary Markets LLC bought a new stake in The Priceline Group in the third quarter valued at approximately $549,000. 94.26% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About The Priceline Group

The Priceline Group Inc is a provider of travel and restaurant online reservation and related services. The Company, through its online travel companies (OTCs), connects consumers wishing to make travel reservations with providers of travel services across the world. It offers consumers an array of accommodation reservations (including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, apartments, vacation rentals and other properties) through its Booking.com, priceline.com and agoda.com brands.

Analyst Recommendations for The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN)

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