April 29, 2011
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 Choice Hotels (NYSE: CHH ) fell 10% in intraday trading after a Wells Fargo analyst downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform.
So what: Wells cited a lack of near-term catalysts to support growth, TheStreet.com reported. Maybe so, but the company's first-quarter results still beat estimates. Revenue improved 7% to $115.3 million, while adjusted earnings moved up a penny to $0.28 a share. Wall Street had been looking for $114.9 million and $0.25 a share, respectively, according to Yahoo! Finance data.
Now what: Whether Wells is right, one thing's clear: Choice Hotels is expensive compared with its growth prospects and industry norms. According to Yahoo! Finance, comparable sector stocks trade for 23.6 times expected earnings and grow profit at 15.4% annually over the next five years. Choice trades for 22 times forward earnings yet is expected to grow profits by just 7% annually. After seeing that combo, it's hard to blame investors for selling.
Interested in more info on Choice Hotels? Add it to your watchlist.