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Shares of leading hotelier, Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Snapshot Report) reached a 52-week high of $54.65 on March 18, 2014. Share price of the stock has been on an uptrend since it reported strong fourth quarter results on Feb 14, 2014.

Adjusted earnings of 32 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2013 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the year-ago figure of 20 cents by 60.0% owing to strong revenues and lower share count. Average surprise for the last four quarters was 28.94%.

Quarterly revenues increased 9.1% year over year to $1.09 billion and also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.08 billion by 0.9%. The top-line reflects positive demand trends among both transient and group travelers that led to higher pricing. In fact, the company recently launched an Andaz-branded property in Guanacaste, Costa Rica given the strong demand in the region.

During the fourth quarter, comparable owned and leased hotel RevPar increased 6.2% year over year and was better than an increase of 6.0% in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, the company posted adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization of $178.0 million, up 21.0% year over year and in line with the company’s expectations.

Meanwhile, Hyatt Hotels continues to expand in the domestic market. During the quarter, it opened hotels in urban markets such as Charlotte, Minneapolis, Nashville and Omaha under the Hyatt Place brand. Driven by healthy demand for its brands across all regions, the company’s current base of executed contracts is the largest to date at 40.0%. We believe the company is progressing well on the back of significant international exposure, an aggressive asset sale strategy and increased market share.

Hyatt Hotels carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the hotel industry include The Marcus Corporation (MCS - Snapshot Report) and Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report). Investors can also consider Marine Products Corp. (MPX - Snapshot Report), a stock from the leisure and recreation industry. All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).


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