Hersha Hospitality Trust Stock Upgraded (HT)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hersha Hospitality (NYSE: HT) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 14.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 27.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • HERSHA HOSPITALITY TRUST reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HERSHA HOSPITALITY TRUST continued to lose money by earning -$0.02 versus -$0.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.04 versus -$0.02).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 840.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.72 million to $6.78 million.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, HERSHA HOSPITALITY TRUST's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, HT has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
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Operates as a Maryland REIT that focuses primarily on owning and operating high quality, upscale and mid-scale limited service and extended-stay hotels. Its portfolio consisted of 31 wholly-owned limited and full service properties and joint venture investments in 16 hotels as of Dec. 31, 2005. Hersha has a market cap of $1.09 billion and is part of the financial sector and real estate industry. Shares are up 10% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Hersha Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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