What happened

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) shareholders outperformed a rallying stock market last month. The travel giant's stock rose 12% in May compared to a 4.5% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally added to April's gains and erased much of the 60% loss that shares had posted through early March. Yet Expedia stock is still trailing the market in 2020 through early June.

A couple on vacation.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

As a leading travel-booking site, Expedia was among the hardest hit when the COVID-19 pandemic sent airline and hotel traffic plummeting in March. That decline set shares up for a rebound once investor sentiment on the industry turned positive again last month.

Expedia posted some ugly operating metrics on May 20, with travel bookings diving 39% in the fiscal first quarter as net losses landed at $258 million. Yet investors instead chose to focus on its improving cost profile and the prospect of a return of vacation traffic as early as June.

Now what

Expedia burned through $1.1 billion of cash last quarter, but new loans -- plus a lower expense profile -- have kept it safe from any impending liquidity crunch. The company counted over $4 billion of cash on the books as of late March.

Meanwhile, investors will have to wait for details about the trajectory of the vacation industry rebound, which will depend on big variables like the novel coronavirus and economic growth conditions in places like the U.S., China, and Europe.