Shares of The St. Joe Company (JOE) reached a new 52-week high, touching $23.75 during the trading session on May 23 after gaining momentum on robust first-quarter 2014 results driven by land sales.
The closing price of $22.89 mirrored a rise of over 16% since the company reported first-quarter 2014 results on May 8. The trading volume for the session was nearly 1.8 million shares. Despite its strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left, given its efforts on enhancing resort operations and recent strategic sales.
St. Joe reported first-quarter 2014 earnings per share of $4.37 per share thanks to the sale of 380,000 acres of its non-strategic timberland and rural land to AgReserves Inc. for about $562 million. The company had incurred a loss of 3 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate, excluding one-time items, was a loss of one cent per share.
Following the AgReserves sale closing in March, St. Joe accomplished the sale of RiverTown community on Apr 2, 2014. As a result of this sale, in the second quarter, the company expects to report a pretax income of around $26 million.
As a matter of fact, St. Joe is currently focused on enhancing resort operations, development of the port at Port St. Joe as well as the active adult residential market, which would help it ride on the growth trajectory going forward. The recent sales are a strategic fit for St. Joe and provide the company substantial liquidity, which it can deploy for development needs.
Over the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for full-year 2014 earnings per share has remained stable at 2 cents while that for 2015 moved north by one cent to 12 cents.
Other Stocks Reaching Highs
In addition to St. Joe, Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (BPO), Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ) and RLJ Lodging Trust (RLJ) also scaled 52-week highs on May 23.
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