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Jefferies LLC initiates coverage of Easterly Government Properties at 'buy'

Jefferies LLC analyst Jonathan Petersen initiated coverage ofEasterly Government PropertiesInc. with a rating of "buy," and a price target of $22.

Theanalyst wrote in a research report: "We expect DEA's exclusive focus onfederal government leased properties will result in more stable and predictableearnings, relative to Office REIT peers. While internal growth will be minimal,DEA is growing through acquisitions in a niche market that we estimate is worthup to $20 billion – we see the company adding $100-200 million of propertieseach year, which drives midsingle-digit FFO/sh growth. We estimate strongergrowth for the dividend, as DEA's current AFFO payout ratio is in the high-70%range, which suggests upside relative to typical REIT payouts of 80-90%.Finally, given the countercyclical nature of government investment andexpansion, DEA adds meaningful diversity to a broader REIT portfolio and shouldimprove risk adjusted returns."