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Priceline shares sink on disappointing outlook

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) -- Travel website operator Priceline.com Inc. said Thursday that its first-quarter net income increased on improved hotel and international business during the period. Still, its profit fell short of market expectations and it issued a disappointing forecast, which sent its shares down in after-hours trading.

Total travel bookings, based on dollar value, increased more than 36 percent to $9.15 billion for the quarter.

Net income was $244.3 million, or $4.76 per share, for the quarter compared with $181.8 million or $3.54 per share, last year. Priceline earned $5.76 per share on an adjusted basis. Revenue increased to $1.3 billion from $1.04 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of $5.27 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion.

Priceline CEO Jeffery Boyd said the company continues to see economic uncertainty in some parts of the world and intense competition in the online travel sector.

The company expects to earn between $8.87 and $9.45 per share on an adjusted basis in its second quarter. Analysts estimated $9.59 per share.

Priceline.com, based in Norwalk, Conn., operates sites such as booking.com, priceline.com and rentalcars.com

Priceline shares fell $22.61, or 3.1 percent, to $714.89 in after-hours trading.