Will This Downgrade Hurt Marriott (MAR) Stock Today?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Marriott (MAR) has been downgraded to "equal-weight" with a $64 price target, Morgan Stanley said Wednesday. The firm said the revision was a valuation call as the stock has outperformed its peers by 14% year-to-date. 

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates MARRIOTT INTL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate MARRIOTT INTL INC (MAR) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • MAR's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 32.55% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 37.82% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MAR should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • MARRIOTT INTL INC has improved earnings per share by 32.5% 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, MARRIOTT INTL INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.01 versus $1.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.45 versus $2.01).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 26.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $136.00 million to $172.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MARRIOTT INTL INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 8.81%. Regardless of MAR's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.22% trails the industry average.
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