Cousins Properties Touches New High

Zacks

Shares of Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ) hit a new 52-week high touching $11.50 toward the end of the trading session on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014, as it gained momentum after reporting strong fourth-quarter 2013 results and the recent dividend hike announcement. The closing price of this real estate investment trust (:REIT) on Feb 20 was $11.48, representing a solid year-to-date return of 13.7%. The trading volume for the session was 1.2 million shares.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given the improving market fundamentals, strong fourth-quarter results and expected long-term earnings growth of 7.63%. Also, the company has recorded an average earnings surprise of 5.82% in 2013.

Growth Drivers

Cousins Properties reported a positive earnings surprise of 12.5% in fourth-quarter 2013, thanks to a more than two-fold rise in total revenue in the quarter. In particular, the company reported fourth-quarter 2013 funds from operations (:FFO) per share of 18 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents and the year-ago figure by 4 cents.

Also, upbeat with the successful implementation of its strategic plan over the recent years, Cousins Properties decided to reward its stockholders. Accordingly, the company hiked its first-quarter cash dividend by 67% sequentially to 7.5 cents per share in Jan 2014. This boosts investors' confidence in the stock.

Notably, Cousins Properties’ portfolio is primarily concentrated in the high-growth Sun Belt markets, which due to their long-term demographic trends, is expected to exhibit above-average job growth. Its focus on building its business on a simpler platform, by specifically targeting trophy assets and opportunistic investments, ensures a steady revenue stream.

Other Stocks to Consider

Investors interested in the REIT-Equity Trust – Other industry may consider stocks like Liberty Property Trust (LRY), Public Storage (PSA) and STAG Industrial, Inc. (STAG). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, are obtained after adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

Read the Full Research Report on PSA
Read the Full Research Report on CUZ
Read the Full Research Report on LRY
Read the Full Research Report on STAG


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