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

Equity Residential ( EQR) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Equity Residential rose 61 cents (1%) to $63.64 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.6 million shares of Equity Residential exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of two million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $62.44-$63.99 after having opened the day at $62.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $63.03. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: MPG Office ( MPG), up 5.7%, PMC Commercial ( PCC), up 3.3%, Cousins Properties ( CUZ), up 3.2%, and American Campus Communities ( ACC), up 3.2%.

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 $18.8 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 208.5, 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 9.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Equity Residential a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 13 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 negative front, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), down 10.4%, FirstCity Financial Corporation ( FCFC), down 4%, Altisource Portfolio Solutions ( ASPS), down 3.6%, and Sunstone Hotel Investors ( SHO), down 3.3%, were all losers within the real estate industry with Host Hotels & Resorts ( HST) being today's real estate industry loser.

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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