NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Retail Properties of America (RPAI) - Get Report stock coverage was initiated with a "hold" rating at Jefferies on Thursday.

The Oak Brook, IL-based real estate investment trust owns and operates shopping centers in the U.S.

"There is long-term upside from the portfolio transformation and significant development/redevelopment potential in some of the company's mixed use assets. We also like RPAI's management team and the strategy that they have employed," the firm wrote in an analyst note

But Jefferies also said near-term earnings growth is muted and will not likely materially improve until 2018.

While there is about three years remaining for the company to complete its strategic plan, Retail Properties has significant steps to take, such as about $2.5 billion of remaining asset sales, the firm noted.

"We project RPAI to be a net seller of assets in 2016. That said,if done at attractive cap rates, this could lend support to the fact that the remaining assets that RPAI has to sell are of solid quality providing support to remaining portfolio NAV," Jefferies added.

Shares of Retail Properties closed lower by 0.15% to $16.90 on Thursday.

About 1.58 million of the company's shares were traded today, higher than its 30-day average volume of 1.04 million shares per day.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Hold" rating with a score of C+ on the stock.

The primary factors that have impacted the rating are mixed. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and reasonable valuation levels.

But the team also finds weaknesses including poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: RPAI

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