Top Picks 2016: Jones Lang LaSalle

01/26/2016 7:00 am EST

Focus: FINANCIALS

Richard Moroney

Editor, Dow Theory Forecasts

Our Top Pick for conservative investors is a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate, explains Richard Moroney, editor of Dow Theory Forecasts.

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) earns a Quadrix Overall score of 95, supported by above-average ranks for all six Quadrix categories. It scores 90 or higher for both sector-specific ranks.

The firm receives incentive fees based on the performance of its real estate investments, which can vary widely from quarter to quarter. Investors have expressed relief that its somewhat volatile investment-management unit remains strong.

Jones Lang LaSalle acquired Cresa South Florida and South Africa's Trussard Property, commercial real estate agencies. In December, it agreed to buy CIB Management, a commercial-property manager based in Baltimore.

It also agreed to purchase Big Red Rooster, which helps clients design and manage their brands and Corrigo, a company that makes cloud-based facility-management products.

Overall, Jones Lang completed 12 acquisitions in the first nine months of 2015 and has announced or completed at least six more deals since then.

Both per-share profits and sales have grown in ten consecutive quarters, helped by a combination of organic growth and small acquisitions.

Management remains upbeat about the commercial real estate market, which could remain in its current upturn cycle for another two years.

Rising analyst estimates call for 10% higher per-share profits in the December quarter on 8% sales growth. Jones Lang LaSalle is a Focus List Buy.

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