July 30, 2007 / 7:53 PM / 12 years ago

Director buys $1 million of Marriott stock

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of hotel chain Marriott International Inc. MAR.N rose on Monday after a corporate director revealed he bought $1 million of the company’s stock last week.

In a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Lawrence Small said he had purchased 25,000 shares of the company on July 27th, increasing his personal holdings to 84,400 shares.

Small, who was once president and chief operating officer of Fannie Mae FNM.N, has served as a Marriott director since 1995, according to the company’ Web site.

Small’s buy represented a switch in a pattern of insider selling at the company, according to filing tracking Web site InsiderScore.com.

“The purchase by Small runs contrary to the prevailing insider sentiment at Marriott,” InsiderScore analysts said in a research note. “Insiders at the company have sold or exercised and sold $5.2 million in stock over the past month.”

The buy was Small’s first purchase of Marriott shares since 1995, InsiderScore.com said.

Marriott shares rose 3.1 percent to $41.14 on the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the close.

But the stock is still hovering around its lowest level since October 2006, despite increased interest in the hotel sector after Hilton Hotels (HLT.N) agreed to a $20 billion takeover from Blackstone Group (BX.N).

Marriott, however is seen as a more difficult takeover target because nearly a quarter of its shares are controlled by the Marriott family.

Reporting by Emily Chasan

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