Expedia Flies High on Results

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After markets closed on Wednesday, Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) reported third-quarter adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.43 on revenues of $1.40 billion. The online travel company’s revenues rose 17% compared with the same period a year ago, and EPS was up 8%. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $1.35 on revenues of $1.37 billion.

Online travel booking is one of the oldest and still fastest growing sectors of the e-commerce era. In 2012, online travel-related spending totaled about $103 billion, according to a report from comScore Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR). That was about $1 out of every $8 that changed hands in the travel industry last year. Direct spending on travel rose by about 5.3% in 2012 compared with 2011, while online travel spending rose 9%.

Expedia, Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN) and Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: OWW) were the top three sites in 2012 measured by page views. Airline sites also figured heavily into the mix of page views, because air travel generates about 65% of all online travel spending. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) are the top three airline websites measured by page views.

Expedia’s third-quarter bookings rose 15% year-over-year in the third quarter, thanks to a 20% jump in the number of room nights booked. International bookings were up 18% and domestic U.S. bookings were up 13%.

The company did not offer guidance, but the consensus fourth-quarter estimates call for EPS of $0.85 on revenues of $1.11 billion. For the full year, Expedia is touted for EPS of $3.09 on revenues of $4.7 billion. At its current pace, if Expedia meets the quarterly EPS estimate, it will post full-year EPS of $3.17.

Shares were up more than 18% in mid-morning trading on Thursday, at $59.13 in a 52-week range of $45.69 to $68.09.

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