Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Choice Hotels have declined sharply over the past month. Despite the positive synergies to be realized from acquisitions and increased focus on franchising, Choice Hotels is shouldering high costs from operations. Total operating expenses in the first six months of 2018 increased 10% year over year. Earnings estimates for 2018 have been revised stable over the past 30 days. However, continuous enhancement of mid-scale brand and the acquisition of WoodSpring brand, as well as transformation and advancement of the Comfort and Cambria brand bode well for the company. Choice Hotels relies heavily on expansion in both domestic and international markets. Apart from constant franchise expansion, the company recently added 239 new extended-stay hotels in 35 states to its portfolio through the acquisition of Woodspring Suites.”

A number of other analysts also recently weighed in on CHH. TheStreet upgraded shares of Choice Hotels International from a c+ rating to a b- rating in a research report on Friday, September 28th. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Choice Hotels International from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday. Longbow Research assumed coverage on shares of Choice Hotels International in a research report on Friday, September 7th. They issued a buy rating and a $95.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a hold rating on shares of Choice Hotels International in a research report on Thursday, August 9th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $83.22.

Shares of NYSE:CHH opened at $75.16 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $4.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.10, a PEG ratio of 2.61 and a beta of 1.01. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of -3.90, a quick ratio of 0.99 and a current ratio of 0.99. Choice Hotels International has a fifty-two week low of $66.40 and a fifty-two week high of $85.35.

Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 8th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.04 by $0.07. The business had revenue of $295.40 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $307.89 million. Choice Hotels International had a net margin of 14.08% and a negative return on equity of 87.57%. Choice Hotels International’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company posted $0.79 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Choice Hotels International will post 3.76 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, October 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, October 2nd will be issued a dividend of $0.215 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, October 1st. This represents a $0.86 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.14%. Choice Hotels International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 29.86%.

In other Choice Hotels International news, insider Patrick Cimerola sold 5,180 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.91, for a total transaction of $424,293.80. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 20,829 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,706,103.39. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Patrick Pacious sold 9,613 shares of the firm’s 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 in the company, valued at $10,875,769.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 55,323 shares of company stock worth $4,553,317 over the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 24.38% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. GAM Holding AG acquired a new stake in Choice Hotels International during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $718,000. Eqis Capital Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 112.6% during the 2nd quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 10,193 shares of the company’s stock worth $771,000 after acquiring an additional 5,398 shares in the last quarter. Fort L.P. bought a new position in shares of Choice Hotels International during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $116,000. Guggenheim Capital LLC bought a new position in shares of Choice Hotels International during the 1st quarter worth approximately $1,384,000. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC grew its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 5.9% during the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,553,200 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,422,000 after acquiring an additional 86,700 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 54.69% of the company’s stock.

About Choice Hotels International

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.

Featured Story: The risks of owning bonds

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Choice Hotels International (CHH)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH)

Receive News & Ratings for Choice Hotels International Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Choice Hotels International and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.