Online Travel Stocks Sink

Stocks of online travel companies were taking a beating this morning, dropping as much as 40 percent in some cases in the first hour of trading after the stock market reopened today following last week’s skyjacking tragedies.

Expedia was down $10.60 or 29.24 percent to $25.65. Name-your-own price e-commerce travel site was down $2.02 or 40 percent to $2.97. And Travelocity was down $9.02 or 40.96 percent to $13.

The travel sector in general was down across the board, with some airline stocks losing as much as 44 percent of their value. In the early going, AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, plummeted $12.50 or 42 percent, to $17.20; US Airways Group Inc. shares were down $5.13 or 44 percent to $6.49 and Delta plunged $17.15 or 46 percent, to $20.10 a share. Northwest Airlines Corp. fell $7.07 to $12.55.

Travelocity had recovered slightly by mid-afternoon, trading at $14.19 about 2 p.m. But Expedia was only at $25.80 and Priceline had declined further to $2.86.

The airline industry, already hurting because of the economic slowdown, is expected to lose billions of dollars before the end of the year. And clearly by extension, investors expect business at online travel sites to decline rapidly as well, as fear of flying becomes widespread across America.

Other Internet companies were trending downward as well. eBay was down $4.52 to $50.05 at mid morning. was down 83 cents to $7.80; Yahoo was down 71 cents to $11.03.

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