Liberty Property Trust
) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $44.03 in the middle of
the trading session on May 7, 2013. The closing price of this
office real estate investment trust (REIT) on May 7 was $43.95,
representing a solid year-to-date return of 23.4%. The average
trading volume of the session was 0.76 million shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)
stock may not sustain this momentum going forward based on its
current estimates revision trends.
Factors to Consider
Better-than-expected first-quarter results - including an
earnings surprise of 3.17% and consistent performance of the
overall portfolio - as well as strong portfolio repositioning
activity were the key growth drivers for Liberty Property.
However, Liberty Property generates a significant amount of
revenue from its office portfolio. Office demand is highly
correlated to job growth. Given the current economic environment
and the volatility in the job market, demands for the Liberty
Property's office portfolio are likely to suffer. This could
adversely affect the top-line growth of the company.
On Apr 23, Liberty Property reported first-quarter 2013 FFO
(funds from operations) of 65 cents per share, beating the Zacks
Consensus Estimate by 2 cents. However, this compared unfavorably
with the prior-year quarter figure of 68 cents. The result was
attributable to a consistent performance of the overall portfolio
as well as strong leasing and development activities. However, an
increase in operating expenses acted as a headwind.
Liberty Property has now delivered positive earnings surprises
in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 2.12%.
Over the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for
full-year 2013 FFO remained unchanged at $2.65 per share. On the
other hand, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 FFO has moved
down 1.4% to $2.75 per share.
On May 7, a number of other REITs also touched 52-week highs.
Highwoods Properties Inc.
Note: Funds from operations, a widely accepted and reported
measure of REITs performance, are derived by adding
depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net
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