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TripAdvisor on Track for Best Session Ever

The Exchange

Stocks overall quickly lost their early momentum Friday, but one sector that was standing out and forging ahead was online travel services.

Image of Paris: Credit AP

Two of strongest stocks of the market day are in that area -- TripAdvisor (TRIP) and Priceline.com (PCLN), with both getting a lift from their earnings reports -- and investors were benefiting from double-digit gains.

Shares of TripAdvisor were the better of the two, rising 19% to $35.03. That puts it on pace to have its single-biggest-session percentage increase in its public history. The best day it's had so far (TripAdvisor was spun out of Expedia (EXPE) late in 2011) was a 16.7% climb on May 2, FactSet data show.

The surge came after the company said revenue for the third quarter increased 18% from the same period last year to $212.7 million. Net income rose 9% year-over-year to $59.4 million, or 41 cents a share. Excluding items, the company earned 46 cents, topping estimates by 4 cents.

Priceline meanwhile was up 10.3% to $646.32. This stock has had a number of even better days in its history, but the last time it rose more in a single outing was Aug. 18, 2003, also according to FactSet.

The gain followed the company's announcement that third-quarter gross travel bookings were up 25.2% from the same quarter in 2011 to $7.8 billion. Revenue reached $1.7 billion, up 17.4% from a year earlier, and earnings before items rose to $12.40 a share from $9.95 a share. Analysts were looking for $11.82.

Online travel stocks: Credit Yahoo Finance

Elsewhere in the group, Orbitz (OWW) was up 4.9% at $2.59, and Expedia was tacking on 0.8% to $60.17 -- if it closes above $60, it will be the first time ever for the stock. Kayak Software (KYAK) was adding 3.3% at $35.55. Travelzoo (TZOO) didn't get the lift, slipping 0.3% to $18.34.

The online travel stocks have seen their ups and downs this year. Expedia, for instance, has been a top name among large U.S. companies for several months. Priceline had an outstanding first quarter before cooling off, while TripAdvisor was the best stock on the S&P 500 for the first half until running into its own stock-price slowdown.