E-Commerce Stock Watch: Priceline Soars After Premature Coverage

Shares of online travel service Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) climbed more than 15 percent on Friday, closing up 11-5/8 to 88, after Goldman Sachs put the company on its recommended list and set a price target of $120. But Goldman Sachs didn’t actually mean to initiate coverage of the company on Friday. The information, which was intended to be announced today, was inadvertently released.

But no matter. Goldman Sachs’ rating is significant. Priceline.com went public on March 29th, and Goldman Sachs’ was not involved in the initial public offering. This gives the recommendation even more credibility. Wit Capital star Internet analyst Jonathan Cohen also sees a lot of potential in Priceline.com’s name-your-price business model, dubbing the company “the first ‘Next Generation’ Internet commerce company.” Of course, Cohen’s thoughts came before the IPO, and he also noted that “our preliminary (and admittedly broad) valuation construct of $5.0 – $7.0 billion translates into a per share price range of $35 – $50 (although we believe that the shares could trade above that range after the pricing of the transaction).” He’s certainly right about the last part.

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