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Equity Residential (EQR): Today's Featured Real Estate Laggard

Equity Residential (EQR) pushed the Real Estate industry lower today making it today's featured Real Estate laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Equity Residential fell 45 cents (-0.7%) to $64.09 on average volume. Throughout the day, two million shares of Equity Residential exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of two million shares. The stock ranged in price between $63.78-$64.65 after having opened the day at $64.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $64.54. Other company's within the Real Estate industry that declined today were: Marlin Business Services (MRLN), down 9.2%, Supertel Hospitality (SPPR), down 6.3%, Maui Land & Pineapple Company (MLP), down 5.5%, and Bluegreen Corporation (BXG), down 5.1%.

Equity Residential, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the acquisition, development, and management of multifamily properties in the United States. Equity Residential has a market cap of $19.53 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 216.5, equal to the average real estate industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Equity Residential a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equity Residential as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

On the positive front, Institutional Financial Markets (IFMI), up 6.5%, American Spectrum Realty (AQQ), up 4.9%, Income Opportunity Realty Investors (IOT), up 4%, and iStar Financial (SFI), up 3.5%, were all gainers within the real estate industry with Two Harbors Investment (TWO) being today's featured real estate industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the real estate industry could consider iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate (IYR) while those bearish on the real estate industry could consider ProShares Short Real Estate Fund (REK).

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