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Why Expedia Group Shares Plunged on Monday

By Travis Hoium - Mar 30, 2020 at 2:46PM

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The travel business isn't going to return to normal anytime soon.

What happened 

Shares of online travel-booking platform Expedia Group (EXPE 3.07%) fell as much as 9.8% in trading Monday as investors continued to sell travel stocks. At 2:45 p.m. EDT today, shares were still down 9%. 

So what

Stay-at-home orders and restrictions on travel continue to expand, prolonging the timeline of any kind of recovery for the travel business. President Trump extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April, and experts said this weekend they expect the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 to be 100,000 to 200,000 people. 

Traveler walking through an airport with a mask on.

Image source: Getty Images.

States like Maryland and Virginia joined the areas with stay-at-home orders as well, aiming to lock down residents to nothing more than essential trips. As these measures move throughout the country and are extended in some places, it makes the likelihood of a quick recovery in travel less likely, not surprisingly sending investors toward safer parts of the market

Now what

There's no telling when the travel business will return to any kind of normal, but the recovery projection keeps getting extended. What investors are worried about now is how companies like Expedia will cut enough costs to remain profitable. You can see below that the company has $4.9 billion of debt to just $3.3 billion in cash, and reported just $565 million in net income last year. If revenue plunges in 2020, the losses could mount quickly. 

EXPE Revenue (TTM) Chart

EXPE Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Investors don't like uncertainty, and right now the travel business is about as uncertain as it's ever been. That's a big reason Expedia is selling off today. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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