Commercial real estate broker stocks underperformance suggests ‘damage has been done,’ analyst says


Shares of commercial real estate brokers have underperformed the real estate investment trust (REIT) and the broader stock market by a wide margin this year, and they could remain “choppy” in the coming months, but JPMorgan analyst Anthony Paolone said “a lot of the damage appears to be done.” Shares of CBRE Group Inc. CBRE, -0.24% have dropped 29.7% year to date, Cushman & Wakefield PLC CWK, -0.26% have slumped 30.9% and Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. JLL, -0.34% have tumbled 34.4%, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF XLRE, -0.46% has declined 19.7% and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.08% has lost 18.3%. Paolone said the CRE brokers have been hurt, as rising interest rates have put damped capital market activity, especially selling CRE assets, just as year-over-year financial comparisons are getting increasingly difficult, and amid increasing signs of re-trading of deals. However, he said this year’s stock declines are already “pretty well explained” by those concerns. So for investors who can stomach some volatility near term, he said the CRE services sector is “attractive,” with “very strong” balance sheets, and should reward investors. “We still believe that the market share opportunity and increased diversification of the businesses lines for the largest firms in the sector are secular tailwinds that should drive growth,” Paolone wrote in a note to clients.

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