Shares of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $115.97 during the trading session on Feb 6. The stock closed the session at $115.04, which reflects a solid year-to-date return of 12.8%. The trading volume for the session was 614,281 million shares.
Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left, given the improving market fundamentals, strong fourth-quarter results, recent garage acquisition and expected long-term earnings growth of 13.53%. Also, the company has recorded an average earnings surprise of 13.97% over the past 4 quarters.
We are positive on Jones Lang LaSalle, following its strong results in fourth-quarter 2013 and improving market fundamentals. Aided by solid growth in revenues, Jones Lang’s fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings per share came in at $3.33, substantially ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.10 per share. Also, it came 28% above the year-ago quarter earnings of $2.60 per share.
Quarterly results benefited from decent growth in fee revenues, driven by Capital Markets & Hotels and Property & Facility Management lines as well as improved momentum in leasing. Moreover, the company increased its credit facility, which along with a solid balance sheet, provides the company the wherewithal to carry on investing in growth drivers going forward. Also, the selection of Jones Lang by Gemalto to act as adviser for its worldwide real estate operations is notable.
Recently, Jones Lang LaSalle disclosed the buyout of a seven-level parking structure worth $22 million – South Beach Garage – of street level retail in Miami Beach, Florida. The asset positioned in a highly populous area, is in proximity to several entertainment and leisure venues of the region.
Other Stocks to Consider
Apart from Jones Lang LaSalle, other stocks worth considering in the Real Estate Operations sector include Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. (HLDCY), Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited (SUHJY) and zipRealty Inc. (ZIPR). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2.