Though lower-than-expected marketing spend (tied to Google search ads) allowed Priceline (PCLN)...

|By:, SA News Editor

Though lower-than-expected marketing spend (tied to Google search ads) allowed Priceline (PCLN) to beat Q4 EPS estimates, the company cautions on its CC not to view it as a trend. Online ad spend still rose 45% Y/Y in Q1, up from Q4's 41%, and equaled 31% of revenue (26% in Q4). Meanwhile, guidance for 15%-22% Q2 rev. growth is below a 23.3% consensus; Priceline says it continues to "see economic uncertainty," and that "competition in the online travel sector remains intense." International bookings (85% of total) +43% Y/Y in Q1, up from Q4's 40%. But growth is expected to slow a bit to 36%-43% in Q2. Hotels room nights +38%, rental car days +43%, air tickets +1%. PCLN -3.3% AH. EXPE just -0.3%.