Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. shares slid 2.2% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the hotel chain’s earnings fell short of estimates, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on demand in January and February. Hilton swung to a loss of $108 million, or 39 cents a share, in the quarter, after income of $18 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding special items, the company had adjusted per-share earnings of 2 cents, below the 7 cents FactSet consensus. Revenue tumbled to $874 million from $1.920 billion, missing the $1.085 billion FactSet consensus. Revenue per available room fell 38.4% on a currency-neutral basis. “While rising COVID-19 cases and tightened travel restrictions, particularly across Europe and our Asia Pacific region, weighed on demand in January and February, we saw meaningful improvement in March and April,” Chief Executive Christopher J. Nassetta said in a statement. “We expect this positive momentum to continue as vaccines are more widely distributed and our customers feel safe traveling again.” The operations of about 275 properties, mostly in the U.S. and Europe, were suspended for some time during the first quarter, compared with about 730 properties in the year-earlier period. Shares have gained 15.3% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.9%.
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