Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Marriott International (MAR) to “Buy”

Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Friday. The firm presently has a $158.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 11.95% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Marriott is currently benefiting from Starwood acquisition, rising North-American business, sizeable international exposure and an attractive brand-position. Marriot’s shares have outpaced the industry in the past year. The company also saw upward revisions for 2018 earnings over the last 60 days. Notably, with the acquisition of Starwood, Marriott became the world's largest hotel company. In fact, this buyout is likely to result in a bigger brand with increased scale and a robust development pipeline in the long run. Yet, lingering political uncertainties in key international markets and currency headwinds might continue to limit revenue growth. Moreover, integration risks linked to Starwood purchase is an added concern. Even so, its investments in technology for hotel bookings are anticipated to improve guest experience.”

Several other analysts have also recently weighed in on MAR. BidaskClub raised shares of Marriott International from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Friday, September 22nd. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $98.00 price objective on shares of Marriott International in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Robert W. Baird set a $103.00 price objective on shares of Marriott International and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 17th. Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Marriott International in a research note on Tuesday, November 7th. Finally, SunTrust Banks upped their price objective on shares of Marriott International to $108.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Marriott International presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $114.26.

Shares of Marriott International (MAR) traded down $0.87 on Friday, hitting $141.13. 1,691,300 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,367,742. The firm has a market capitalization of $52,350.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.35, a P/E/G ratio of 2.35 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83, a current ratio of 0.52 and a quick ratio of 0.52. Marriott International has a 1-year low of $83.72 and a 1-year high of $142.69.

Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, November 7th. The company reported $1.10 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.98 by $0.12. The business had revenue of $5.66 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.22 billion. Marriott International had a net margin of 6.30% and a return on equity of 31.58%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 43.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.91 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Marriott International will post 4.24 earnings per share for the current year.

Marriott International announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, November 9th that authorizes the company to buyback 30,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other Marriott International news, insider Argiris Kyriakidis sold 2,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $121.55, for a total transaction of $303,875.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 13,579 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,650,527.45. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Anthony Capuano sold 19,510 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.51, for a total transaction of $2,604,780.10. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 23,159 shares in the company, valued at $3,091,958.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 221,825 shares of company stock worth $27,378,820 over the last ninety days. 11.32% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its holdings in Marriott International by 1,490.1% during the 2nd quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 1,129 shares of the company’s stock worth $113,000 after acquiring an additional 1,058 shares during the last quarter. First Quadrant L P CA acquired a new position in shares of Marriott International in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $136,000. Grove Bank & Trust lifted its position in shares of Marriott International by 214.8% in the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 1,231 shares of the company’s stock worth $136,000 after purchasing an additional 840 shares during the period. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. lifted its position in shares of Marriott International by 175.6% in the 3rd quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 1,323 shares of the company’s stock worth $147,000 after purchasing an additional 843 shares during the period. Finally, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. lifted its position in shares of Marriott International by 28.1% in the 2nd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,572 shares of the company’s stock worth $158,000 after purchasing an additional 345 shares during the period. 66.67% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Marriott International

Marriott International, Inc (Marriott International) is a lodging company. Marriott International operates in three business segments: North American Full-Service, North American Limited-Service and International. Its North American Full-Service segment includes its Luxury and Premium brands (JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Renaissance Hotels, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection Hotels, Delta Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, and Tribute Portfolio) located in the United States and Canada.

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