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TripAdvisor soars on bullish outlook for 2018

Analysts had been expecting underlying earnings to fall again this year, but TripAdvisor said it expects earnings to be flat

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Tripadvisor and its rivals have been upping their advertising spend over the past year or so as they battle it out for customers

Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) soared in premarket trading on Thursday as the travel website issued a more bullish forecast for the coming year than Wall Street had expected.

In its fourth-quarter earnings release, Tripadvisor revealed a loss of US$84mln, or 60 cents a share, on sales of US$321mln - up from US$316mln in the year-ago quarter.

The loss was mostly due to a US$73mln one-time charge related to the recent US tax changes.

After stripping that and other one-off costs out, the Needham, Massachusetts-based group reported earnings of 6 cents per share, down from 16 cents a year and below the 14 cents analysts had pencilled in.

Investors appeared to ignore the earnings disappointment to focus on TripAdvisor’s forecasts for 2018.The company is guiding for adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) to be flat, when many analysts had been expecting them to continue to fall.

“We believe our addressable market opportunity, our unique competitive position and our growth strategy position us to return to double-digit revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA margins in excess of what we have operated to over the past couple of years,” said executives in prepared remarks issued alongside the results.

TripAdvisor shares, which have taken a battering over the past year amid an advertising war with rivals Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) and Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN), rose 17.2% to US$47.66 before the opening bell on Thursday.

Quick facts: Tripadvisor

Price: 38.98 USD

NASDAQ:TRIP
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $5.43 billion
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