Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hilton Worldwide (NYSE:HLT) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $88.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Hilton’s shares have slightly outpaced its industry in the last one year. The company’s fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents per share topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents but declined 22.9% year over year. Revenues rose 23.9% from the prior-year quarter, beating the consensus mark of $2.26 billion. In the fourth quarter, system-wide comparable revenue per available room (RevPAR) increased 3.8%, driven by growth in occupancy and average daily rate. The company’s loyalty program continues to drive occupancy. Moreover, with the spin-off of a portfolio of hotels and resorts as well as its timeshare business, Hilton has transformed into a capital-light operating business. Earnings estimates for the current quarter and year have also gone up over the last 60 days. Yet, soft group performance in the United States, political unrest in the Middle East and other macroeconomic concerns are pressurizing RevPAR growth.”

Several other research analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Argus raised their target price on shares of Hilton Worldwide from $2.40 to $94.00 and gave the stock a positive rating in a report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Morgan Stanley cut shares of Hilton Worldwide from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and set a $84.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Wednesday, January 17th. Goldman Sachs Group cut shares of Hilton Worldwide from a conviction-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $80.00 target price on the stock. in a report on Tuesday, November 14th. Barclays reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $88.00 target price on shares of Hilton Worldwide in a report on Friday, February 16th. Finally, Raymond James Financial raised shares of Hilton Worldwide from an outperform rating to a strong-buy rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $78.00 to $69.00 in a report on Monday, January 8th. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, ten have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $80.89.

Hilton Worldwide (HLT) opened at $81.47 on Wednesday. Hilton Worldwide has a fifty-two week low of $55.91 and a fifty-two week high of $88.11. The company has a market cap of $26,070.00, a P/E ratio of 44.76, a PEG ratio of 5.86 and a beta of 1.33. The company has a current ratio of 0.90, a quick ratio of 0.90 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.16.

Hilton Worldwide (NYSE:HLT) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. The company reported $0.54 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.10. Hilton Worldwide had a net margin of 13.77% and a return on equity of 39.37%. The company had revenue of $2.28 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.70 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 23.9% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts predict that Hilton Worldwide will post 2.62 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 29th. Investors of record on Friday, March 2nd will be given a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 1st. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.74%. Hilton Worldwide’s dividend payout ratio is 32.97%.

Hilton Worldwide announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, November 16th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of HLT. Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Hilton Worldwide during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $151,000. Hilton Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in Hilton Worldwide in the third quarter valued at approximately $208,000. Fuller & Thaler Asset Management Inc. acquired a new stake in Hilton Worldwide in the third quarter valued at approximately $208,000. Lombard Odier Asset Management Europe Ltd acquired a new stake in Hilton Worldwide in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $208,000. Finally, Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Hilton Worldwide in the second quarter valued at approximately $219,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 98.27% of the company’s stock.

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About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc is a hospitality company. The Company is engaged in owning, leasing, managing and franchising hotels and resorts. The Company’s segments include ownership, and management and franchise. Its global portfolio of owned and leased properties includes a range of hotels in gateway cities, such as New York City, London, San Francisco, Chicago, Sao Paolo and Tokyo.

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