Vacation Rentals Boost HomeAway

11/26/2013 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Michael Cintolo

Vice President of Investments and Chief Analyst, Cabot Heritage Corporation

This company operates Web sites that allow people with properties to connect with people looking for vacation rentals; international inventory of properties is now over 773,000 in 171 countries explains Mike Cintolo of Cabot Top Ten Trader.

HomeAway (AWAY) makes money by helping renters to list, advertise, and manage bookings online, and its innovative pricing strategies allow property owners to pay more for enhanced listings and search options.

There's even a new pay-per-booking option that allows owners to pay only when their property is rented.

The company's Q3 earnings report on November 7 was a thorough triumph, featuring 36% earnings growth (to 19 cents per share) on a 23% jump in revenue (to 90.2 million), where analysts had been predicting EPS of 16 cents and revenue of $89 million.

After-tax profit margins hit a record 18.6% for the quarter and free cash flow for the past year totaled more than $1 per share. Management also issued guidance for Q4 revenue that topped analysts' estimates.

The reaction to HomeAway's earnings report was enthusiastic, gapping the company's stock up 16% on volume that was nearly 600% of its daily average.

All the ingredients are present for the company to continue to ride an improving global economy, and a deepening database of vacation rentals, to more good results.

AWAY went public at $27 in June 2011 and traded higher for a few months, before coming down to earth by the end of that year, then spent 15 months trading under its IPO price.

The stock traded under resistance at $34 until the good Q3 earnings news blew past that resistance on huge volume.

The best news is that, after a two-day dip to 33, AWAY has been on the move on steadily rising volume. With AWAY now trading at new multi-year highs at $37, it's important to buy it well.

You can either take a small position here, then average up when you get a 10% profit, or you can wait for the stock to pull back by a point. A stop at 32 will provide protection at AWAY's early September resistance.

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