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Priceline Shares Rally on Stronger-Than-Expected Profit

Priceline.com shares soared Wednesday after the online U.S. travel agency turned in a stronger-than-expected earnings report and raised its forecast.

Priceline shares were recently trading up $14.10, or 21.7%, at $79.19.

After the market closed Tuesday, Priceline said its quarterly profit more than doubled, largely due to a surge in international bookings. The company's second-quarter net income rose to $34.6 million, or 79 cents a share, from $12.5 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the company earned $47.3 million, or $1.11 a diluted share, in the latest period. On that basis, Wall Street analysts had expected the company to earn 90 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

The company said its travel bookings increased by 33% overall to $1.2 billion. Its bookings for international travel increased by 93%.

"We believe the strength of the international business this quarter, coupled with a solid outlook for next quarter, will ameliorate any concerns regarding competition overseas," said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Marianne Wolk in a research note.

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