The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and

   The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,
  JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and Ryanair Holdings

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 14, 2013

CHICAGO, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq:JBLU), Delta Air Lines
Inc. (NYSE:DAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) and Ryanair Holdings Plc
(Nasdaq:RYAAY).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Starwood Thriving in Latin America

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) is on the verge of
signing new deals and launching hotels in the rapidly-growing emerging markets
of Latin America in order to further enhance its presence in the region.
Starwood intends to increase its Latin American portfolio to 100 properties at
the end of 2013

Starwood's Latin American coverage comprises three brands - luxury brands (W
Hotels, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection), upper-upscale segment (Westin,
Le Méridien and Sheraton) and mid-market brands (Aloft and Four Points by
Sheraton). At present, Starwood owns and operates 71 hotels across 13
countries in the region. Apart from this, 20 hotels are currently under
construction. The company expects to unveil seven hotels in Latin America in
2013.

Flourishing Luxury Brand

This year Starwood is slated to introduce two Luxury Collection branded hotels
in Cusco, Peru and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Apart from this, the company is also augmenting the presence of its W Hotels
and St. Regis brand in Latin America. In this regard, Starwood has declared
that it will unveil four new properties including W Bogota, W Santa Fe in
Mexico City in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and W Retreat Kanai Rivera Maya as
well as W Panama City both in 2016. Moreover, Starwood will also launch a St.
Regis branded hotel, St. Regis Kanai Rivera Maya, in 2016.

Growing Opportunity in the Upper-Upscale Brand

In a concerted endeavor to strengthen its upper-upscale brand, Starwood is set
to open four Sheraton branded properties in several places of Latin America in
2013 and 2014.

Starwood's other upscale brands; Westin and Le Méridien are also witnessing
high demand in the region. In 2013, the company is likely to operate 11 Westin
branded hotels across five Latin American countries.

Strong Mid-Market Segment

Starwood's Four Points by Sheraton is also expecting to extend its operations
in Latin America with the inauguration of three Four Points by Sheraton hotels
in Peru, Mexico and Bogota in 2013 and 2014. In addition, the other mid-market
brand, Aloft is also scheduled to open six new properties in Latin America
within 2015.

Starwood is continuously making serious efforts to enhance its international
presence. Recently, the company has declared its plan to introduce 50 new
hotels in the European region by 2018. Starwood has also undertaken several
$200 million renovation initiatives to improve the efficacy of its existing
hotels in Europe.

Positive February Traffic for JetBlue

JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq:JBLU) reported single-digit traffic growth for Feb
2013 on the back of higher capacity. The company's airline traffic – measured
in revenue passenger miles or RPMs, which implies revenue generated per mile
per passenger – increased 2.6% year over year to 2.51 billion for the month.
Consolidated capacity (or available seat miles/ASMs) was 3.04 billion, up 1.3%
from Feb 2012.

The load factor or percentage of seats filled by passengers was 82.4%, up 100
basis points. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM), however,
dropped 3% year over year. The company registered a completion factor of
96.1%, with on-time performance of 68.8%.

For the first two months of 2013, on a consolidated basis, JetBlue Airways
generated RPMs of 5.30 billion (up 6.9% year over year) and ASMs of 6.46
billion (up 5.7% year over year), while load factor was 82.0%, reflecting an
improvement of 90 basis points.

In an attempt to expand its services, JetBlue Airways is consistently
introducing new flights. From Nov 20, the company will have two non-stop
flights every day from Chicago's O'Hare to San Juan. Leveraging the reputation
of being the largest carrier in Puerto Rico, the airline flies to 14 non-stop
destinations within U.S. and Caribbean from the capital.

JetBlue Airways also remains committed toward re-vamping the city's Luis Munoz
Marin International Airport and extend all necessary inputs for the growth and
development of the island.

Going forward, JetBlue Airways aims to start services in Albuquerque, N.M.;
Philadelphia; Penn and Medellin, Colombia. We believe adding on new routes
enhances the company's business model and strengthens its network against
other group members such as Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) and Southwest
Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV).

JetBlue Airways currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other Stocks to Consider

A stock operating within the airline sector that is worth considering is
Ryanair Holdings Plc (Nasdaq:RYAAY) – that holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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