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Why Expedia Stock Lost 26% in November

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Dec 4, 2019 at 4:56AM

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The travel booking business is getting more competitive.

What happened

Shares of Expedia Group (EXPE 0.21%) trailed the market last month, falling 26% compared to a 3.4% uptick in the S&P 500, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The slump put shareholders in negative territory for the year, with the stock down over 10% compared to the broader market's 23% increase.

So what

The catalyst for November's drop was a third-quarter earnings report that investors panned. Sales and profits both came in below expectations thanks to soft booking trends. Management cited a few factors behind the slowdown, including weaker search engine traffic and reduced average prices at hotels. These issues combined to harm the vacation stock's profitability, and so operating income fell 7%.

A man and a woman sitting on a dock facing the ocean with a villa suspended above the water in front of them

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Like its peer TripAdvisor, Expedia said last month that it expects the tough selling conditions to continue at least into early 2020. These issues will be amplified by management's focus on cutting costs and realigning key parts of the business. As a result, it might be some time before investors see a positive break from the Q3 trends that executives admitted were "disappointing."

However, in a clear sign that Expedia's board of directors disagreed with that proposed path forward, the company announced the abrupt exit of both its CEO and CFO on Dec. 4. Shares initially rose on the news, suggesting investors are hopeful that a new management team can lead Expedia to a faster growth strategy for 2020. 

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of TripAdvisor. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends TripAdvisor. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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