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Wyndham does well in 1Q, but outlook disappoints

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) -- Wyndham Worldwide Corp. got off to a better start than analysts anticipated as its hotels and resorts attracted more travelers during the first three months of the year, but a cautious forecast raised worries of a slowdown heading into the crucial summer vacation season.

The outlook accompanying Wednesday's first-quarter report rattled investors. Wyndham's stock shed $3.59, or 5.6 percent, to $60.82 in afternoon trading.

The company earned $27 million, or 19 cents per share, in the first quarter. That was down 16 percent from $32 million, or 21 cents per share, at the same time last year.

If not for certain costs primarily incurred in a refinancing of debt, Wyndham said it would have earned 71 cents per share. That topped the average estimate of 67 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue grew 9 percent to $1.13 billion, slightly above analyst projections.

In another encouraging sign, Wyndham's average revenue per available room worked out to $31.05, a 4 percent increase from the same time last year. The benchmark is a key indicator of a hotel's booking demand.

Wyndham's revenue in its vacation rentals and timeshare resorts also climbed from a year ago.

But that progress was overshadowed by worries that things may be starting to taper off.

The company, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., raised a red flag during a conference call with analysts by predicting adjusted earnings per share of 87 cents to 90 cents per share for the current quarter, which ends in June. That was below the average analyst estimate of 95 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Wyndham tightened its earnings estimate range for the year, lifting the bottom by 3 cents to $3.60 per share. It still expects $3.70 per share profit at the most, even after the company's first-quarter performance exceeded management's goals. The company's revenue target for the year remained unchanged.

Chief Financial Officer Thomas Conforti told analysts some of management's caution stems from currency fluctuations that could work against the company later this year.

Wyndham ended March with nearly 7,400 hotels and nearly 632,000 rooms.