Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust (NYSE:PDM) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note published on Wednesday. They currently have $24.00 price target on the real estate investment trust’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. is an integrated and self-managed real estate investment trust specializing in the acquisition, ownership, management and development of commercial real estate properties. That includes properties that are under construction, newly constructed, or have operating histories. The Company is primarily focused on high-quality Class A office buildings located in major U.S. markets and leased primarily to high-credit quality tenants. Major markets include: Washington, D.C., greater Los Angeles, the New York metropolitan area, Boston and Chicago. Piedmont conducts business primarily through Piedmont Operating Partnership, LP; a Delaware limited partnership, as well as performing the management of its buildings through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Piedmont Government Services, LLC and Piedmont Office Management, LLC. Piedmont OP owns a majority of its properties directly and a limited number through joint ventures with real estate limited partnerships with other third parties. “

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. SunTrust Banks upgraded shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, November 30th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, October 23rd. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust from a sell rating to a hold rating and boosted their price target for the company from $16.00 to $20.00 in a report on Thursday, February 7th. Finally, Robert W. Baird lowered shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $21.75.

Piedmont Office Realty Trust stock opened at $20.74 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.99, a P/E/G ratio of 1.92 and a beta of 0.80. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.99, a current ratio of 1.75 and a quick ratio of 1.75. Piedmont Office Realty Trust has a 1 year low of $16.43 and a 1 year high of $20.91.

Piedmont Office Realty Trust (NYSE:PDM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 5th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.35 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.44 by ($0.09). Piedmont Office Realty Trust had a net margin of 24.77% and a return on equity of 7.42%. The business had revenue of $137.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $125.41 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.42 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts expect that Piedmont Office Realty Trust will post 1.78 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, February 28th will be issued a $0.21 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 27th. This represents a $0.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.05%. Piedmont Office Realty Trust’s dividend payout ratio is currently 48.55%.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 43,858 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $747,000 after acquiring an additional 594 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its stake in shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust by 1.9% during the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 41,806 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $712,000 after acquiring an additional 764 shares in the last quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust by 5.2% during the 4th quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 20,200 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $344,000 after acquiring an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC raised its stake in shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust by 4.9% during the 4th quarter. Private Advisor Group LLC now owns 24,257 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $413,000 after acquiring an additional 1,126 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Sigma Planning Corp raised its stake in shares of Piedmont Office Realty Trust by 6.1% during the 4th quarter. Sigma Planning Corp now owns 21,910 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $373,000 after acquiring an additional 1,269 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 85.40% of the company’s stock.

About Piedmont Office Realty Trust

Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc (NYSE: PDM) is an owner, manager, developer, and operator of high-quality, Class A office properties in select sub-markets located primarily within eight major U.S. office markets. Its geographically-diversified, almost $5 billion portfolio is currently comprised of approximately 17 million square feet.

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