Choice Hotels International (CHH) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday morning. The firm currently has $81.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Choice Hotels’ shares have outperformed the industry over the past year. The company’s enthralling growth trajectory is likely to continue after it reported better-than-expected earnings in the third quarter of 2018. The company also raised its 2018 earnings guidance. By enhancement of mid-scale brand and the acquisition of WoodSpring, as well as the transformation of the Comfort and Cambria brand, Choice Hotels is poised for growth. Earnings estimates for 2018 have been revised upward over the past 30 days, reflecting analysts’ optimism surrounding the company’s future earnings potential. However, high cost of operations and competition remain concerns. Total operating expenses in the first nine months of 2018 increased 7% year over year. Also, the hospitality industry is cyclical and a worsening of global economic conditions might in turn dent Choice Hotels’ revenues and profits.”

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. decreased their target price on Choice Hotels International to $71.00 and set an underweight rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, November 9th. SunTrust Banks decreased their target price on Choice Hotels International to $80.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. Jefferies Financial Group set a $83.00 target price on Choice Hotels International and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Friday, November 9th. ValuEngine raised Choice Hotels International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, September 22nd. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co decreased their target price on Choice Hotels International from $86.00 to $82.00 and set a market perform rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $81.44.

NYSE:CHH opened at $72.15 on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalization of $4.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.77, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.20 and a beta of 1.08. Choice Hotels International has a 12-month low of $69.06 and a 12-month high of $85.35.

Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 8th. The company reported $1.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $291.50 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $321.69 million. Choice Hotels International had a negative return on equity of 98.61% and a net margin of 17.26%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.95 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Choice Hotels International will post 3.85 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, January 17th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, January 2nd will be given a $0.215 dividend. This represents a $0.86 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Choice Hotels International’s payout ratio is 29.86%.

In related news, CEO Patrick Pacious sold 9,613 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.02, for a total transaction of $788,458.26. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 132,599 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,875,769.98. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Patrick Cimerola sold 5,180 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.05, for a total value of $430,199.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 26,009 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,160,047.45. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 55,323 shares of company stock worth $4,553,317 in the last ninety days. 24.38% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its position in Choice Hotels International by 1.8% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,924,825 shares of the company’s stock worth $243,638,000 after buying an additional 50,729 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc grew its position in Choice Hotels International by 1.8% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 2,924,825 shares of the company’s stock worth $243,638,000 after buying an additional 50,729 shares in the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C grew its position in Choice Hotels International by 124.6% during the third quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 1,819,385 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,555,000 after buying an additional 1,009,194 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Choice Hotels International by 13.1% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,587,731 shares of the company’s stock worth $120,032,000 after buying an additional 183,553 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its position in Choice Hotels International by 5.9% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,553,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,422,000 after buying an additional 86,700 shares in the last quarter. 56.27% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Choice Hotels International Company Profile

Choice Hotels International, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a hotel franchisor worldwide. It operates through Hotel Franchising and SkyTouch Technology segments. The company franchises lodging properties under the brand names of Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Cambria hotels & suites, and Ascend Hotel Collection.

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