Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning.
According to Zacks, “Essex Property is slated to release its fourth-quarter 2016 earnings after the market closes on Feb 2. The company is a steady performer, having beaten estimates in each of the past four quarters at an average of 1.99%. Also, its shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized REIT and Equity Trust – Residential industry over the past three months. With a strong property base and solid balance sheet, Essex is expected to leverage on favorable demographic trends in its markets. Further, its short-term leases offer scope to adjust to rate hikes. However, there have been consistent apartment deliveries and a slowdown in employment trends nationwide and in a number of west coast submarkets particularly. This is anticipated to continue and will moderate pricing power amid aggressive rental concessions provided at newly developed communities.”
A number of other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on ESS. Cantor Fitzgerald set a $250.00 price target on shares of Essex Property Trust and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 6th. Barclays PLC upgraded shares of Essex Property Trust from an equal weight rating to an overweight rating and lifted their price target for the company from $232.00 to $255.00 in a research report on Monday. They noted that the move was a valuation call. JMP Securities cut shares of Essex Property Trust from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Tuesday. KeyCorp upgraded shares of Essex Property Trust from a sector weight rating to an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, December 15th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation cut shares of Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $232.00 price target for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, November 23rd. Ten investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $243.29.
Shares of Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) traded down 0.93% during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $224.60. 85,864 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $226.75 and a 200-day moving average of $222.40. The company has a market cap of $14.72 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 49.84 and a beta of 0.52. Essex Property Trust has a 52-week low of $191.25 and a 52-week high of $237.50.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 17th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 30th were given a dividend of $1.60 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, December 28th. This represents a $6.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.82%. Essex Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio is presently 141.91%.
In other news, insider Angela L. Kleiman sold 300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $232.00, for a total transaction of $69,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 7,477 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,734,664. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Angela L. Kleiman sold 1,200 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $219.55, for a total transaction of $263,460.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 7,997 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,755,741.35. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.
Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of ESS. NEXT Financial Group Inc increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 9.3% in the third quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 469 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $104,000 after buying an additional 40 shares during the period. Washington Trust Bank increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 1.3% in the third quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 472 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $105,000 after buying an additional 6 shares during the period. TLP Group LLC acquired a new stake in Essex Property Trust during the third quarter valued at approximately $118,000. Hanson McClain Inc. increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 0.5% in the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 608 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 3 shares during the period. Finally, QUANTRES ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd acquired a new stake in Essex Property Trust during the third quarter valued at approximately $200,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 99.02% of the company’s stock.
About Essex Property Trust
Essex Property Trust, Inc is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns all of its interest in its real estate and other investments directly or indirectly through Essex Portfolio, L.P. (the Operating Partnership). The Company is engaged in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development and redevelopment of apartment communities.
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