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Originally published Friday, July 26, 2013 at 9:46 AM

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Expedia shares tumble as competition heats up

The Associated Press

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Expedia turned into a bad trip for shareholders Friday.

Shares plunged 26 percent when the market opened after it reported late Thursday that second-quarter profit fell by one-third, stung by online competition that has grown increasingly intense.

The company badly missed Wall Street projections and expenses for sales and marketing grew much faster than revenue. The money went toward its trivago, Brand Expedia and Hotels.com lines.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Brian Fitzgerald said that Expedia also had weakness at its Hotwire site.

“The environment is growing more competitive, especially in the U.S.,” Fitzgerald wrote. He cut his price target to $59, from $68. He maintained a “hold” rating on the stock.

One of the problems this quarter was former subsidiary, TripAdvisor, which hurt Expedia as it altered the traffic that it had once referred to Expedia for bookings.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Naved Khan maintained his “buy” rating, believing the hit from TripAdvisor will be temporary. He also says Expedia is improving the rate at which it converts a visit to its website into a sale.

Expedia shares fell $16.91 to $48.09 in morning trading. That’s their lowest price since early 2012.

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