Short Interest in Huazhu Group Ltd (HTHT) Expands By 20.0%

Huazhu Group Ltd (NASDAQ:HTHT) saw a large increase in short interest in January. As of January 31st, there was short interest totalling 12,461,243 shares, an increase of 20.0% from the January 15th total of 10,383,455 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,488,503 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 8.4 days.

Shares of NASDAQ:HTHT traded up $0.58 during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $33.40. 626,305 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,238,672. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.17, a quick ratio of 1.33 and a current ratio of 1.34. The stock has a market capitalization of $9.60 billion, a P/E ratio of 51.42 and a beta of 1.52. Huazhu Group has a 1 year low of $24.90 and a 1 year high of $49.60.

Huazhu Group (NASDAQ:HTHT) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 15th. The company reported $0.32 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.36 by ($0.04). The company had revenue of $402.97 million for the quarter. Huazhu Group had a return on equity of 24.86% and a net margin of 14.00%. Research analysts forecast that Huazhu Group will post 0.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, January 2nd were given a $0.34 dividend. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.07%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 31st. This is a boost from Huazhu Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.16. Huazhu Group’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 49.23%.

Several research analysts have issued reports on the company. CLSA initiated coverage on Huazhu Group in a research report on Tuesday, January 22nd. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Deutsche Bank cut shares of Huazhu Group from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and lowered their price objective for the stock from $23.00 to $20.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 22nd. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Huazhu Group from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $38.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Wednesday, February 6th. BidaskClub raised shares of Huazhu Group from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 5th. Finally, Citigroup began coverage on shares of Huazhu Group in a research report on Tuesday, December 11th. They set a “buy” rating and a $45.00 price objective for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $42.41.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Huazhu Group by 50.2% in the 4th quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 1,538 shares of the company’s stock valued at $44,000 after buying an additional 514 shares during the period. Quadrant Capital Group LLC purchased a new position in Huazhu Group in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $63,000. IFP Advisors Inc boosted its position in Huazhu Group by 10.9% in the 4th quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 3,302 shares of the company’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 324 shares during the period. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group boosted its position in Huazhu Group by 3,911.3% in the 3rd quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 4,974 shares of the company’s stock valued at $154,000 after buying an additional 4,850 shares during the period. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its position in Huazhu Group by 4,066.7% in the 3rd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 6,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $194,000 after buying an additional 5,856 shares during the period. 43.16% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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Huazhu Group Company Profile

Huazhu Group Limited, together with its subsidiaries, develops and operates leased and owned, manachised, and franchised hotels primarily in the People's Republic of China. The company operates hotels under the Hi Inn, HanTing Hotel, Elan Hotel, Orange Hotel, HanTing Premium, Starway Hotel, JI Hotel, Orange Hotel Select, Manxin Hotel, Crystal Orange Hotel, Joya Hotel, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis Styles, and Ibis brand names for business and leisure travelers.

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