November 5, 2018 / 10:20 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Marriott cuts current-qtr forecast on weak N. America demand

(Adds forecast, shares)

Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. hotel chain Marriott International Inc on Monday cut its fourth-quarter forecast for a key measure of hotel health, blaming uncertainty related to weak demand in North America, its biggest market.

Marriott's shares fell 4.4 percent, overshadowing a higher-than-expected third quarter profit.

Marriott, which owns the Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury hotel brands, forecast revenue per available room (revPAR) to rise 2 percent across the world in the fourth quarter. It had earlier forecast growth of 2.5 percent to 3 percent.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company also said it now expects 3 percent growth in full-year revPAR worldwide, at the low end of its earlier forecast of a rise of 3 percent to 4 percent.

Smaller rival Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc last month indicated a slowdown in its business by cutting the top end of its full-year revPAR growth target against the backdrop of growing international trade worries.

Additionally, there are concerns that the hotel industry, which has gained from a strong economy and robust travel demand, may be set to decelerate.

Marriott's net income dropped to $483 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from $485 million.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.70 per share, beating analysts' estimate of $1.31, according to Refinitiv data.

The company's revenue fell about 1 percent to $5.05 billion, missing estimates of $5.37 billion.

While fewer people booked Marriott rooms across the world in the quarter, the average room rate rose 2.2 percent. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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