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Priceline (and Shatner) can't be stopped: Stock up 4%

May 10, 2013: 12:42 PM ET
The man. The myth. The advertising legend. Priceline continues to post solid earnings ... and produce amusing commercials with William Shatner.

The man. The myth. The legend. Priceline continues to produce solid earnings ... and fun commercials with William Shatner.

Raise your hand if you thought that Priceline (PCLN) shares would be falling Friday. I did.

The online travel stock has been red hot this year. And even though it reported strong first-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday, its outlook was a bit conservative. The stock dipped after hours Thursday as a result.

But shares popped 4% Friday to a new 52-week high. It just goes to show that you can't short the Shat ... or Kaley Cuoco for that matter. ("The Big Bang Theory" star is now appearing in ads with William Shatner as the Negotiator's long-lost daughter.)

Traders on StockTwits were largely bullish as well, despite the muted forecast from the company.

$GOOG $PCLN assuming no splits, who wins the race to $1000?

Ha! It does seem like Priceline, which now trades near $770, is in a race with Google (GOOG) on the way to $1000 a share. Google still has the lead though. It hit a new all-time high of $880 on Friday.

$PCLN "benefiting from stability in its core European market and continues to gain share in global hotel bookings" Bullish

Stability in Europe may seem like an oxymoron. But Priceline has done a great job there thanks to its unit. Priceline has even begun a separate Shatner-less advertising campaign for the brand in the United States.

Other traders noted that in this bull market, you can't afford to bet against a momentum stock for long ... especially if Wall Street analysts are defending the stock.

$PCLN getting a chorus of upgrades after yesterday's earnings and moving big.

Defense!! Defense!! BTFD at any price. It's an equity and if it's red you MUST BUY $PCLN

@mytfine $PCLN Wouldn't be the first stock to lower guidance and hit a 52w high soon after.

Very true. As I wrote yesterday, many investors seem scared to miss out on more gains in the market. And I like that BTFD acronym. I assume that B is for Buy. T is The. And D is Dip. But what does the F stand for? Fleeting? Fading? Fast? Oh. Right. #sarcasm

Still, not everyone is a Priceline bull.

$PCLN is Bubble not worth $730 go down to $400 same Apple Bearish

Could Priceline suffer the fate of Apple (AAPL), which has fallen more than 35% since hitting an all-time high last September? That's tough to say. Apple, after all, was a relatively cheap stock that has started to lose favor on Wall Street because the fundamentals don't appear to be as strong as tougher competition has emerged.

Priceline still is getting the benefit of the doubt. Analysts continue to raise their earnings forecasts. But the stock does trade at 20 times 2013 profit projections. That isn't cheap. But considering that analysts are predicting earnings growth of about 20% this year and in 2014, it's not terribly expensive either.

What's more, Priceline trades at just a slight premium to smaller competitor Expedia (EXPE) and a discount to Orbitz (OWW), Travelzoo (TZOO) and TripAdvisor (TRIP). And Priceline is set to become an even bigger giant in the industry with its looming purchase of travel software company Kayak (KYAK).

Time for Reader Comment of the Week! I try not to single out colleagues too often. But I don't have rules like radio stations that prohibit fellow employees from participating in contests. After all, the only "prize" one gets from winning Reader Comment of the Week is the knowledge that I liked one of your pithy tweets and am willing to share it with the world (or those who read the Friday Best of StockTwits feature and my Twitter feed) But isn't that enough?

Anyway, some of us here at CNNMoney felt that the FT's characterization of Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 as a consumer failure ala New Coke was a bit harsh. But I did tweet that for many Windows users, XP is still considered among the best versions. David Goldman, who wrote our piece on the Windows 8 fixes, followed with a very amusing soft drink analogy of his own.

Ha! Well, it looks as if Coca-Cola (KO) actually doesn't make a diet version of Pineapple Fanta. Vista users probably wish Microsoft had done likewise.

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Paul Lamonica
Paul R. La Monica
Assistant Managing Editor, CNNMoney

Paul R. La Monica is an assistant managing editor at CNNMoney. He is the author of the site's daily column, The Buzz, and also tweets throughout the day about the markets and economy @LaMonicaBuzz. La Monica also oversees the site's economic, markets and technology coverage.

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