Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $86.00 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.”

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co cut their price target on shares of Choice Hotels International from $86.00 to $82.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, November 15th. SunTrust Banks cut their price target on shares of Choice Hotels International to $80.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research note on Thursday, November 15th. Jefferies Financial Group set a $83.00 price target on shares of Choice Hotels International and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Friday, November 9th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their price target on shares of Choice Hotels International to $71.00 and set an underweight rating for the company in a research note on Friday, November 9th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of Choice Hotels International from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, October 11th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $82.00.

Shares of CHH stock opened at $76.92 on Wednesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $4.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.71, a PEG ratio of 2.33 and a beta of 1.06. Choice Hotels International has a one year low of $69.06 and a one year high of $85.35.

Choice Hotels International (NYSE:CHH) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 8th. The company reported $1.24 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.16 by $0.08. The firm had revenue of $291.50 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $321.69 million. Choice Hotels International had a net margin of 17.26% and a negative return on equity of 98.61%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.95 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that Choice Hotels International will post 3.85 EPS for the current year.

In other news, insider Patrick Cimerola sold 5,180 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.91, for a total transaction of $424,293.80. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 20,829 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,706,103.39. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Patrick Pacious sold 35,350 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $82.33, for a total transaction of $2,910,365.50. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 139,498 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $11,484,870.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 55,323 shares of company stock valued at $4,553,317. 22.01% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of CHH. Royal Bank of Canada lifted its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 116.0% during the 1st quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 28,059 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,249,000 after buying an additional 15,071 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue lifted its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 32.2% during the 2nd quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 4,060 shares of the company’s stock worth $306,000 after buying an additional 990 shares during the last quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB lifted its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 23.2% during the 2nd quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 5,851 shares of the company’s stock worth $442,000 after buying an additional 1,100 shares during the last quarter. Amalgamated Bank lifted its stake in shares of Choice Hotels International by 13.7% during the 2nd quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 8,107 shares of the company’s stock worth $613,000 after buying an additional 979 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Choice Hotels International during the 2nd quarter worth about $561,000. Institutional investors own 57.19% of the company’s stock.

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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