Marriott's ( MAR) second-quarter earnings rose 35% from a year ago, beating estimates, thanks to rising sales and expanding margins. Marriott earned $186 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $138 million, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings were $182 million, or 42 cents a share, beating the Thomson First Call consensus estimate by 2 cents. "Across our portfolio, and throughout our global system, business is exceptionally strong," Marriott said. "Our hotels continue to thrive around the world, including such markets as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Santiago. Business transient and group demand in Western Europe was very strong in advance of this summer's World Cup competition." Sales rose 7% from a year ago to $2.9 billion in the second quarter, while house profit margins for worldwide company-operated properties rose by 2.8 percentage points due to higher room rates, strong food and beverage profits and cost cuts. On a comparable, worldwide, systemwide basis, Marriott's revenue per available room rose 10.4% in the second quarter compared with a year ago. Average daily rates rose 8.9% and occupancy rose by 1.2 percentage points to 76.5%. For the third quarter, Marriott expects to earn 28 cents to 30 cents a share; analysts were forecasting 30 cents a share. For the full year, Marriott expects to earn $1.52 to $1.57 a share; analysts were forecasting $1.54 a share.