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Stamford’s Starwood 1Q Results Top Wall Street Predictions

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Lodging operator Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. says that its first-quarter net income surged 66 percent, bolstered by a large tax benefit.

The company also provided a 2013 earnings forecast above Wall Street’s expectations and said that a limited supply of hotels is driving increased room rates in North America.

For the three months ended March 31, Starwood earned $213 million, or $1.09 per share. That compares with $128 million, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier. The latest results included a $70 million tax benefit.

Taking out the tax benefit and other items, earnings from continuing operations were 76 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected 53 cents per share.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $1.54 billion. That beat Wall Street’s forecast of $1.47 billion.

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