is becoming a Wall Street darling, with the hotel operator receiving its second upgrade in as many days.
On Tuesday morning, Deutsche Bank upgraded Marriott to buy from neutral and boosting its price target to $61, implied its shares have better-than-20% upside from where they closed Monday, at $50.24.
In the eyes of Deutsche analyst Marc Falcone, fundamentals are accelerating at Marriott -- and the industry recovery could be approaching mid-cycle, when Marriott tends to outperform rivals.
"We have always viewed Marriott as a mid-cycle play, believing it would take more time for incentive-fee and unit-growth reliant Marriott to fully reflect the benefits of improving fundamentals relative to owner-operators," said Falcone, in his upgrade. "The faster-than-expected recovery ... has gotten us more comfortable that Marriott's incentive fees are set to meaningfully accelerate." (Deutsche Bank does and seeks to do business with the companies covered in research reports.)
Deutsche Bank is the latest brokerage to turn bullish on Marriott. On Monday, J.P. Morgan analyst Harry Curtis upgraded the company to overweight from market-weight, telling investors Marriott's earnings per share could grow by 20% through 2005. In short, with occupancy rates on the rise, Marriott will gain leverage to raise fees and boost its earnings.
"The ability to increase rate is coming sooner than most operators expected," said Curtis, in his upgrade. "Current occupancy levels coupled with midweek strength is providing operators with increased pricing power." (J.P. Morgan does and seeks to do business with the companies covered in research reports.)
Marriott shares rose 55 cents, or 1.1%, to $50.79 on Tuesday, following a gain of 0.3% on Monday. Since March 23, the company has outperformed peers by a healthy margin, gaining nearly 23% vs. a gain of 10% for the Dow Jones Hotel Index.