Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Friday. The firm currently has a $158.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 11.95% from the company’s previous close.

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 equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on MAR. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $132.00 price target on shares of Marriott International in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. Barclays boosted their price target on Marriott International from $105.00 to $130.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 28th. BidaskClub cut Marriott International from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, November 10th. Robert W. Baird boosted their price target on Marriott International from $111.00 to $115.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, November 10th. Finally, SunTrust Banks boosted their price target on Marriott International to $108.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, ten have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $114.26.

Shares of Marriott International (MAR) traded down $0.87 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $141.13. The stock had a trading volume of 1,691,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,367,742. Marriott International has a 12 month low of $83.72 and a 12 month high of $142.69. The company has a market capitalization of $52,350.00, a PE ratio of 38.35, a PEG ratio of 2.35 and a beta of 1.35. The company has a current ratio of 0.52, a quick ratio of 0.52 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.83.

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

Marriott International declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, November 9th that permits the company to buyback 30,000,000 shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

In other news, Director Eric Hippeau sold 4,863 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, November 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $125.98, for a total transaction of $612,640.74. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 34,245 shares in the company, valued at $4,314,185.10. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Deborah Marriott Harrison sold 130,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $119.17, for a total transaction of $15,492,100.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 114,155 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,603,851.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 221,825 shares of company stock valued at $27,378,820. Company insiders own 11.32% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in MAR. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Marriott International by 1.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 19,999,062 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,006,106,000 after purchasing an additional 331,586 shares during the period. FMR LLC increased its holdings in Marriott International by 32.5% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 15,406,182 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,545,394,000 after purchasing an additional 3,780,639 shares during the period. Capital Research Global Investors increased its holdings in Marriott International by 7.2% in the second quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 12,763,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,280,257,000 after purchasing an additional 862,710 shares during the period. Westfield Capital Management Co. LP increased its holdings in Marriott International by 11.1% in the third quarter. Westfield Capital Management Co. LP now owns 1,681,372 shares of the company’s stock valued at $185,388,000 after purchasing an additional 167,692 shares during the period. Finally, Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its holdings in Marriott International by 88.6% in the third quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 1,673,540 shares of the company’s stock valued at $184,524,000 after purchasing an additional 786,050 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 66.67% of the company’s stock.

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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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