Cousins Hits 52-Week High on Portfolio Repositioning Activity - Analyst Blog

Shares of Cousins Properties Incorporated ( CUZ ) hit a new 52-week high touching $13.16 towards the end of the trading session on Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014, thanks to increased investors' expectation on the company's continued strategic portfolio repositioning activity and strong second-quarter 2014 results.

The closing price of $13.12 represents a solid year-to-date return of 31.6%. The trading volume for the session was 1.84 million shares.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given the improving operating environment, expected third-quarter 2014 earnings growth of 71.2% and long-term growth of 8.9%. In addition, the company has recorded a solid average earnings surprise of 10.0% in the last four quarters.

Growth Drivers

On Aug 8, Cousins Properties disclosed the successful continuation of its restructuring plans, with the declaration of an acquisition deal of buying two trophy office assets - Fifth Third Centerin Charlotte, NC and Northpark Town Center in Atlanta, GA. With the completion of both the acquisitions, Cousins Properties' portfolio will stand among the five exclusive targeted sunbelt markets across the U.S.

Moreover, late last month, Cousins Properties reported second-quarter 2014 FFO (funds from operations) of 18 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and also surpassing the year-ago figure by 6 cents. Robust revenue growth aided the 50% year-over-year rise in FFO per share.

Notably, Cousins Properties is making dedicated efforts to simplify its business by specifically targeting trophy assets and opportunistic mixed-use developments in the best urban submarkets. Also, the company aims towards maintaining a flexible balance sheet with ample liquidity to not only capitalize on opportunistic acquisitions but also leverage on improving market fundamentals and raise operational efficiency.

Over the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for full-year 2014 and 2015 FFO per share remained stable at 74 and 82 cents per share, respectively.

Other Stocks to Consider

Apart from Cousins Properties, other REITs that reached 52-week highs on Aug 19 include Avalonbay Communities Inc. ( AVB ), Duke Realty Corporation ( DRE ) and Public Storage ( PSA ).

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 income.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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