Bears covered shorts on this ETF, 3 stocks to pop on the shift

Photo of hand turning a dice and changes the word "sell" to "buy".

Whenever traders move their money in a big way, it often pays to follow their tracks and reverse engineer what happened that caused them to shift in or out of that space. Today, the tools at MarketBeat have caught a major shift in sentiment and capital out of an ETF (exchange-traded fund) that also happens to represent a key economic indicator.

By hovering over the stocks with decreasing short interest data analysis on the site, you can see which stocks are seeing rising buy activity in the form of short position covering. In a simple matter, closing a short position requires a trader to buy the underlying stock to exit. So, a decrease in short interest for the US Treasury 6 Month Bill ETF (NASDAQ: XBIL) is a significant bull signal for specific stock sectors, particularly real estate stocks.

For reasons that will become clear in just a minute, stocks like Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z), Prologis (NYSE: PLD), and even CBRE Group (NYSE: CBRE) may end up on the top watchlists for professional traders and investors in this coming quarter. But before you get into the weeds of the deal, you should first understand why investment dollars could find their way here in the first place.

Money is about to make a shift

Because this ETF holds a broad base of short-term (six months) U.S. treasury bonds, a rise in its price would directly mean that the yields on the bonds are set to decline. Remember that bond prices and yields move inversely, so the exiting of bears in the ETF is a bullish sign for the economy.

This raises the question of who will see the benefits of cheaper short-term financing before everyone does. The real estate industry, especially those names tied to the construction industry, could be the first to see expanding margins and profit volumes.

Each time a building permit gets approved, companies like D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI) and Pulte Group (NYSE: PHM) begin to ask for short-term financing for construction loans.

These companies run on elevated levels of debt, which are paid off as soon as the construction project is finished. Still, you can already see how the interest paid on these loans can significantly affect profitability and incentives to do more business.

No wonder Warren Buffett – in true crystal ball fashion – has been positioning himself in the space, maybe even expecting a boom in the space to come soon on the declining financing rates. Of course, you couldn't have guessed where Buffett would be next, which is why CBRE is your next best choice for the development industry.

With a five-year average ROE (return on equity) rate of over 12.0%, CBRE comes to be one of those businesses that can potentially compound your wealth over the years. No wonder analysts are pushing for an earnings per share growth of 28.5% for the next twelve months.

Analysts at Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) also felt comfortable pushing their price targets on CBRE up to $103.0 a share, which calls for an upside of 10.6% from today's prices. After the developer names get paid, who is next in this game of trickle-down economics?

Next in line for a payday

Working down the real estate value chain, the following names that are likely to see increased business volume are the ones that stand in the middle of the transactional storm. Names like Zillow and RE/MAX (NYSE: RMAX) will be called upon to move all the new inventory the developers will throw out.

As far as Zillow goes, analysts are getting on the rally bandwagon. They expect EPS growth of roughly 32% for the next twelve months. This is where the growth play can be found in this new money shift due to lower financing rates.

What's even more interesting is how analysts at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) boosted their price targets on Zillow up to $65.0 a share, representing an 18.6% upside from where the stock last closed. It's not a bad payday for a play sponsored by building market momentum.

Last but not least, the quiet asset class like Prologis (who operates in logistics centers) will get paid for this activity boom. Lower financing rates will benefit real estate, and other stocks in the manufacturing sector will also benefit over time. For example, Prologis centers will be there to make the timely connection of materials.

Analysts see 12.2% EPS growth over the year for this stock, which may seem conservative until you realize this company is a $123 billion behemoth. When companies get this bit, pushing double-digit growth is something to write home about, especially in this sector.

Raymond James once more boosted their price targets on the space, pushing for a Prologis valuation of $145.0 a share, implying the stock needs to rally by 8.7% on top of its 2.6% dividend yields today.

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