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.

AvalonBay Communities ( AVB) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, AvalonBay Communities rose $1.71 (1.4%) to $125.73 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.5 million shares of AvalonBay Communities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of one million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $123.55-$125.91 after having opened the day at $123.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $124.02. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: Altisource Residential Corporation ( RESI), up 35.7%, Elbit Imaging ( EMITF), up 20.2%, Doral Financial ( DRL), up 10.8%, and Capital ( CT), up 7.6%.
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AvalonBay Communities, Inc. engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. AvalonBay Communities has a market cap of $14.2 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 46, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 8.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are six analysts that rate AvalonBay Communities a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AvalonBay Communities as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Vestin Realty Mortgage I ( VRTA), down 9.1%, InnSuites Hospitality ( IHT), down 6.5%, Government Properties Income ( GOV), down 6%, and Gramercy Capital Corporation ( GKK), down 4.3%, were all laggards within the real estate industry with Vornado Realty ( VNO) 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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