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Why Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.'s Shares Popped 16.7% Last Month

By Travis Hoium - Mar 11, 2016 at 3:26PM

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A strong earnings outlook and two spinoffs got investors excited about the hotel business once again.

Image source: Hilton.

What: Shares of hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. ( HLT 4.01% ) jumped 16.7% in February after reporting earnings and some future asset sales.

So what: Revenue was up slightly to $2.86 billion and net income jumped from $159 million to $816 million, largely on a tax benefit. Management also said that they expect 3%-5% revenue per available room growth in 2016 and a 7%-9% increase in management and franchise fees. The bullish view on the future had to give investors confidence that the economy wouldn't be as big a drag on results as might have been feared.  

The other big news was Hilton announcing that it will spin off its real estate assets into a publicly traded REIT and its timeshare business into another separate public company. We don't yet know what that will bring to shareholders, but this kind of financial engineering is often cheered short term by investors.  

Now what: I wouldn't read too much into the spinoffs. They can sound good on paper, but spinning off assets isn't what Hilton, as a brand, is built to do. Instead, I think the solid results and very bullish outlook are what investors should focus on. The hotel business is running on all cylinders right now and with shares trading at just 14 times earnings, I think this stock has room to run higher this year.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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