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Jones Lang LaSalle Upgraded to Neutral

Zacks Equity Research

On Nov 7, 2013, we upgraded our long-term recommendation on Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) to Neutral from Underperform following its strong results in third-quarter 2013 and improving market fundamentals.

Why the Upgrade?

After a disappointing performance in the prior quarter, Jones Lang’s third-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.49, substantially ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.35 per share. It also came 21% above the year-ago quarter earnings of $1.23 per share.

Quarterly results benefited from decent growth in fee revenues, driven by Capital Markets & Hotels and Property & Facility Management as well as strong leasing performance.

Jones Lang, which boasts of clients like HSBC Holdings plc. (HBC), acquired a Houston-based property management company - Means Knaus Partners (:MKP) in the third quarter to enhance its office property management capacities. Moreover, the company acquired the Kansas City-area commercial real estate firm Capital Realty. The acquisitions augur well for the company’s long-term growth.

The company has also renewed and increased the capacity of its long-term credit facility of more favorable pricing. We believe that its increased credit facility along with a solid balance sheet provides the company the wherewithal to carry on investing in growth drivers going forward.

However, structural and political issues have prevented a strong upturn in the U.S. and led to inconsistent and slow paced development of certain Asian markets, such as China and India. Moreover, continuation of the slowdown in Brazil is a plausible concern for the stock. Also, Jones Lang faces stiff competition from international, regional, and local players in the market.

For Jones Lang, over the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimates for both 2013 and 2014 moved north. It climbed 0.8% to $6.04 per share for 2013 and 0.3% to $6.99 per share for 2014. Hence, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other Stocks to Consider

A number of companies that are performing better and are worth a look in the same industry include E-House (China) Holdings Ltd (EJ) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and HFF, Inc. (HF) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

Read the Full Research Report on JLL
Read the Full Research Report on HBC
Read the Full Research Report on EJ
Read the Full Research Report on HF


Zacks Investment Research

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