Prudential Boosts Priceline to 'Buy'

The online travel agency now sees Q3 revenue at the high end of the range announced two weeks ago

Prudential upgraded Priceline (PCLN ) to buy from hold.

Analyst Mark Rowan says management says consumer demand for its travel products is recovering from the Sept. 11 attack significantly faster than expected. He notes gross airline ticket units already recovered 72% of its pre-attack levels, and says hotel room and rental car units sold recovered 103% and 74%, respectively. Rowan thinks early data is pointing to a strong rebound in demand, coupled with ample supply, which creates a hospitable environment for the company. He raised his $0.12 2002 EPS estimate to $0.15 to reflect improved demand. Rowan also raised his $4 target to $6.

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