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February 15, 2006

Low-flying quarter

Posted by Monica Soto at 4:46 PM

Online travel-booking site Expedia saw its shares plunge 16.0 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that landed short of analysts forecasts.

The company said its fourth-quarter profit fell 42.9 percent to $25.2 million, or 7 cents a share. Sales, meanwhile, rose 13 percent to $494.7 million, as it booked less revenue per airline ticket.

The company's quarterly adjusted earnings, which exclude non-cash expenses and non-recurring charges, were 20 cents, or 5 cents shy of analysts' forecasts.

Chairman and Internet mogul Barry Diller said Expedia operated in a "fiercely competitive environment" during the final three months of the year.

Investors will hold down shares until they figure out how long Expedia will take to ride out the turbulence.

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