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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 up 0.1%. By the end of trading, AvalonBay Communities rose $1.25 (1.1%) to $118.91 on average volume. Throughout the day, 866,057 shares of AvalonBay Communities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 730,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $117.55-$119.07 after having opened the day at $118.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $117.66. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: Gaming and Leisure Properties ( GLPI), up 9.0%, IFM Investments ( CTC), up 8.4%, Maui Land & Pineapple Company ( MLP), up 7.9% and Monroe Capital ( MRCC), up 3.0%.

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 $15.3 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 12.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate AvalonBay Communities a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AvalonBay Communities as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Gyrodyne Company of America ( GYRO), down 5.8%, Sotherly Hotels ( SOHO), down 5.0%, Supertel Hospitality ( SPPR), down 4.8% and American Realty Investors ( ARL), down 4.5% , were all laggards within the real estate industry with Zillow ( Z) 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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