CS First Boston Cuts InterActive to Neutral

Analyst Heath Terry says the Internet giant saw weakness in Hotwire and Hotels.com

CS First Boston downgraded InterActive Corp. (IACI ) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Heath Terry says until the Internet media and travel giant's long-term strategy begins to show results, he sees InterActive trading in line with the broader Internet group. He says the 22 cents second-quarter adjusted earnings per share is in line, and the $1.501 billion in revenue missed his $1.611 billion estimate. Terry notes the 55.1% gross margin missed his 55.9% estimate, too. Management cut the guidance from $1.0 billion to $1.2 billion in 2004 operating income before amortization to $1.0 billion.

Terry says the main factors were weakness in Hotwire, international travel, Home Shopping Network Germany, higher marketing costs, slower-than-expected growth in Personals, and lower conversion trends at Hotels.com. Terry cut the $42 target to $29, and cut the 97 cents 2004 adjusted earnings per share estimate to 90 cents.

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