Ventas Inc (VTR): Today's Featured Real Estate Winner

Ventas ( VTR) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, Ventas rose 41 cents (0.6%) to $67.22 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.2 million shares of Ventas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $66.25-$67.22 after having opened the day at $66.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.81. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: E-House China Holdings ( EJ), up 8.2%, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings ( NSM), up 6%, Consolidated-Tomoka Land ( CTO), up 5.5%, and PennyMac Mortgage Investment ( PMT), up 3.6%.

Ventas, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, management, financing, and leasing of properties in the healthcare industry. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States and Canada. Ventas has a market cap of $19.86 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 45.1, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 40 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Ventas a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ventas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Supertel Hospitality ( SPPR), down 5.6%, Marlin Business Services ( MRLN), down 4.8%, MPG Office ( MPG), down 4.7%, and CreXus Investment ( CXS), down 3.3%, were all laggards within the real estate industry with Annaly Capital Management ( NLY) 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).