) --

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide


predicts that 2010 earnings will top consensus forecasts after swinging to a loss in the fourth quarter.

Starwood expects earnings of 63 cents a share before special items for 2010. The company said that while group bookings have picked up, booking pace for 2010 has continued to lag behind 2009.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast 2010 earnings of 56 cents a share.

Starwood reported a net loss of $107 million, or 59 cents a share, in the fourth quarter compared with net income of $79 million, or 44 cents a share, a year ago.

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Excluding special items, earnings from continuing operations were 51 cents a share in the fourth quarter compared with 49 cents a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 22 cents a share.

Worldwide system-wide REVPAR (revenue per available room) for same-store hotels decreased 7.2%, or 9.6% in constant dollars, from a year ago.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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