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Goldman: Buy AvalonBay Communities

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- AvalonBay Communities (AVB) shares jumped Wednesday morning while Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) edged slightly lower after analysts at Goldman Sachs (AVB) offered mixed broker action on the real estate stocks.

Goldman analyst Steven Kent downgraded shares of Starwood to a buy rating, removing the hotel operator from its prestigious conviction buy list.

Kent cited Starwood's valuation, pointing out that its stock has appreciated more than 60% from a year ago.

Starwood shares were 0.5% lower at $60.24.

Goldman analyst Jonathan Habermann issued an upgrade on AvalonBay shares to buy from neutral.

He also boosted his price target on AVB from $98 to $121, implying a 10.8% upside to the stock's Tuesday closing price of $109.16.

Habermann attributed the upgrade to AvalonBay's reasonable valuation as it compares to other REITs. He noted that AvalonBay should benefit materially on strengthening in the current rent cycle.

AvalonBay shares added 2.2% to $111.58 ahead of midday.

Habermann downgraded healthcare REIT HCP (HCP) to neutral from buy, maintaining a $33 price target.

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