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HCP ( HCP) pushed the Real Estate industry higher today making it today's featured real estate winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, HCP rose $0.46 (1.2%) to $39.47 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2,787,031 shares of HCP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,248,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $38.96-$39.68 after having opened the day at $39.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.01. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that increased today were: Maui Land & Pineapple Company ( MLP), up 23.7%, Desarrolladora Homex SAB de CV ADR ( HXM), up 11.9%, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), up 4.1% and China HGS Real Estate ( HGSH), up 3.9%.

HCP, Inc. is an independent hybrid real estate investment trust. The fund invests in real estate markets of the United States. HCP has a market cap of $17.9 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 7.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate HCP a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates HCP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, E-House China Holdings ( EJ), down 7.2%, CoStar Group ( CSGP), down 6.4%, Supertel Hospitality ( SPPR), down 6.2% and Western Asset Mortgage Capital ( WMC), down 5.4% , were all laggards within the real estate industry with Northstar Realty Finance Corporation ( NRF) 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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