Analysts Continue to Love this Online Travel Stock

BKNG shares have been pulling back since hitting a record high earlier this month

Mar 22, 2018 at 10:44 AM
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Roughly a month after the company changed its name from Priceline Group (PCLN) to Booking Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:BKNG), its stock is receiving bullish attention from analysts. Specifically, Doug Anmuth from J.P. Morgan Securities weighed in on a few travel names, reiterating his stance that BKNG is his favorite online travel stock, maintaining an "overweight" opinion. Anmuth added that hotel trends in February looked solid.

Elsewhere, Mizuho initiated coverage on Booking Holdings with a "buy" rating and $2,600 price target. These bull notes are the norm on Wall Street, where 18 of the 24 brokerage firms tracking the shares say to buy them. However, the average 12-month price target of $2,245.57 only offers upside of roughly 5.5%, suggesting there's room for more price-target increases going forward.

The stock has earned this bullish bias by grinding out an impressive multi-year uptrend that resulted in a record high of $2,228.99 back on March 13. Already this year BKNG shares are up 22.6%, and though they're down 0.7% today at $2,130.05, they're holding above the 20-day moving average, a trendline that hasn't been breached in over a month.

And if short sellers keep covering their positions, it could help Booking Holdings stock revisit record levels. In the last two reporting periods alone, short interest fell by almost 26%. An unwinding of put positions could also help, with the security's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) coming in at 1.37. Not only does this show put open interest outweighs call open interest among options expiring within three months, but its annual percentile rank of 82% shows the reading has rarely been this put-heavy.


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