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White Plains, New York-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) recently announced the opening of a hotel - Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel – under its iconic Sheraton Hotels & Resorts brand. This marks the debut of Starwood in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Located in the business and entertainment district of Maryland, Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel was previously known as Crowne Plaza hotel. The hotel is located in the northern part of downtown Washington, D.C. and is in close proximity to major tourist attractions. After going through extensive renovation and brand conversion activity, costing over $5 million, the hotel was reopened under the Sheraton brand. The hotel now features 229 renovated guest rooms along with numerous other modern amenities at par with the standards of the brand. The hotel is owned and managed by Integrated Capital and Crescent Hotels & Resorts.

Silver Spring, the fourth most populous district of Maryland, is well known for hosting several entertainment, musical, and ethnic festivals. The place is among the major tourist destinations of Washington D.C, offering a vivacious blend of arts and entertainment. Starwood’s major competitors – such as Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report) and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (WYN - Analyst Report) – already have a strong presence in Silver Spring.

Since the last couple of quarters, Sheraton is spearheading Starwood’s market share growth. The brand covers almost 36% of the company’s current total global pipeline. Recently, Sheraton announced the opening of its second hotel in Greater Hartford, Sheraton Hartford South Hotel. In the recently completed second quarter of 2012, Sheraton recorded a 6.3% increase in worldwide RevPar for system wide same-store hotels.

In addition to this, Sheraton recently completed a $6 billion brand-wide revitalization program, including $400 million in signature brand initiatives. As of June 30, 2012, Starwood’s Sheraton brand operates more than 400 hotels across 70 countries worldwide, the highest among all the company’s brands. The brand is on an expansion spree to achieve its target of $6 billion global expansion over the next three years.

Starwood reported second quarter 2012 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 70 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8 cents. The company increased its adjusted earnings guidance to the range of $2.49–$2.56 per share, from its earlier guidance range of $2.35–$2.46.

Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2012 and 2013 adjusted earnings are pegged at $2.54 and $2.72 per share, respectively. We presently have a long-term 'Neutral' recommendation on the stock. However, the company carries a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Buy’ rating.

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