Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of real estate investor Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT ) soared nearly 15% on huge volume after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and the sale of one of its hotel properties for $96 million.
So what: Ashford, which administers a broad portfolio of hotel-related investments, booked $0.40 in Q4 funds from operations. Analysts were expecting just $0.37. Management attributed the outperformance to cost discipline as operating margin for hotels not under renovation improved by 384 basis points.
Now what: Liquidity matters for a company like Ashford, which uses billions debt for investing in capital projects. Fortunately, the balance sheet is improving. A $1.8 billion interest rate swap executed in October will produce $32 million in annual savings, management said in a press release.
Similarly, the company's sale of the JW Marriott San Francisco to an affiliate of Thayer Lodging Group generated enough proceeds to pay off a $47.5 million loan secured by the property and reduce additional borrowings, the company said in a statement. Maybe now's the time to take a closer look at Ashford and its REIT peers?