TripAdvisor Inc. shares zoomed 20% higher Wednesday afternoon on a stronger-than-expected forecast for the current year. In a fourth-quarter earnings report, TripAdvisor revealed a loss of $84 million, or 60 cents a share, on sales of $321 million, up from $316 million a year ago. The loss was mostly attributable to a $73 million charge related to new tax laws; after stripping that and other one-time costs out, TripAdvisor reported earnings of 6 cents a share, down from 16 cents a share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of 14 cents a share on sales of $309 million. Excitement seemed to stem from TripAdvisor’s forecast for the current year, which called for adjusted Ebitda to be flat, while analysts assumed it would continue to fall. “We believe our addressable market opportunity, our unique competitive position and our growth strategy position us to return to double-digit revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA margins in excess of what we have operated to over the past couple of years,” executives said in prepared remarks. TripAdvisor shares rose to more than $48 in after-hours action, after closing with a 2.1% gain at $40.72. The stock had been damaged amid an advertising war with rivals Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc. , falling 22% in the past year as the S&P 500 index gained 13.9%.
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