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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Equity Residential ( EQR) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Equity Residential rose $1.02 (1.8%) to $56.46 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 3.8 million shares of Equity Residential exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $55.42-$56.68 after having opened the day at $55.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.44. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: Altisource Residential Corporation ( RESI), up 20.3%, Icahn ( IEP), up 14.9%, New England Realty Associates ( NEN), up 4.5%, and American Capital Mortgage Investment ( MTGE), up 4.4%.

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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 $16.59 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 59.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are five analysts that rate Equity Residential a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equity Residential as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, Roberts Realty Investors ( RPI), down 5.9%, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), down 5.4%, IFM Investments ( CTC), down 4.9%, and Stratus Properties ( STRS), down 4.5%, were all laggards within the real estate industry with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings ( NSM) being today's real estate industry laggard.

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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