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Technology: Internet

A bullish call on an online travel agency helps lift Justin Post from ­runner-up to second place.

Mark Mahaney

Mark Mahaney Citi

second teamJustin Post BofA Merrill Lynch

third teamImran Khan J.P. Morgan

Mark Mahaney is “always on top of things,” asserts one ­money man­ager. The ­Citi analyst is also on top of the sector for a second straight year. Mahaney, 43, upgraded online travel ser­vices provider Expedia from hold to buy in March, at $7.65, because of the former Microsoft Corp. subsidiary’s move to eliminate booking fees at a time of declining leisure travel. He also liked the Bellevue, Washington–based com­pany’s strong prospects for revenue growth acceleration in 2010. The stock had skyrocketed to $23.05 by August 31, an eye-­popping 201.3 percent advance that made the sector’s 28.2 percent gain look as if it ­hadn’t left the departure lounge.

A bullish call on an online travel agency helps lift Justin Post from ­runner-up to second place. Backers say the BofA Merrill analyst offers a “unique perspective” and ­“doesn’t just repeat what everyone else is saying.” Post recommended Priceline.com in January, at $73.65, calling investors’ attention to the Norwalk, ­Connecticut–based com­pany’s growing market share, and he reiterated the call in July. Priceline’s share price surged 109.1 percent in the first eight months of the year, to $153.98.

Imran Khan of J.P. Morgan, who drops one notch to third, “knows his companies inside and out — no detail escapes his attention,” marvels one client. Khan’s best calls of the past year include a January upgrade to overweight on Amazon.com, on the belief that a short-term consumer-­spending slowdown would not hamper the Seattle-­based online superstore’s long-term growth prospects. The stock outperformed the broad market by 39.9 percentage points, through August.

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