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: Booking CEO, analysts bullish even as stock lands on day’s worst-performing lists


Booking Holdings Inc.’s stock on Thursday matched its previous longest losing streak of six days, ending the day down sharply as the Russian invasion of Ukraine weighed most heavily on the company among its peers in the travel industry.

Shares of Booking Holdings

closed at $2,295.00, down $174.83, or 7.08%, and were the worst performer in the Nasdaq 100 for the day, as well as the second-worst performer in the S&P 500.

Despite the uncertainty, Booking Chief Executive Glenn Fogel told MarketWatch in an interview Thursday that he doesn’t expect travel trends to be drastically affected or altered. The company reported fourth-quarter financial results on Wednesday, including net income and revenue that beat analysts’ expectations.

“The truth is it probably won’t impact travel,” said Fogel, who added that he woke up to see the “tragedy and horror of what’s going on in Ukraine.”

He acknowledged, though, that travel costs such as airplane fuel could rise and affect ticket prices and more, though he said he still didn’t see that dampening demand.

Though Fogel said he thought travelers will “continue to feel bad” about what’s going on in Eastern Europe, he stuck to the travel-booking company’s outlook that Americans and Europeans will still want to travel as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, and that customers in Asia, which has seen a slower recovery from the pandemic, will follow. Like its competitors that reported results recently, including Expedia Group Inc.

and Airbnb Inc.
Booking is citing pent-up demand for travel and saying it is encouraged by the summer bookings it has seen already.

As the company’s executives said on Wednesday’s earnings call, Fogel reiterated that travel to Russia and Ukraine comprises a single-digit percentage of the business of his company, whose brands include Priceline and Kayak. But the company does have significant business in Europe overall, with Chief Financial Officer David Goulding saying last year that pre-pandemic, 50% of Booking’s business was in Europe, 30% was in the U.S. and 20% was in Asia.

Analysts are mostly bullish on Booking, even as the company indicated this week that it plans to increase spending on marketing and other initiatives, such as doubling down on its push to become a one-stop travel-booking site. Twelve analysts tracked by FactSet rate the stock as a buy, 12 say hold and two consider the stock overweight.

See: Ukraine Worries Hit Travel Shares. Booking Stock Just Got an Upgrade.

Expedia also saw a decline in its stock Thursday, falling almost 2.5% to $193.74. Meanwhile, Airbnb’s shares rose about 5.5% to close at $158.26 and TripAdvisor Inc.

edged 0.4% higher, ending the day at $26.69.

See: Expedia optimistic about travel recovery, boosting stock despite mixed results

Also: Airbnb is doing better than it was before the pandemic

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