Essex Property Trust, Inc. (ESS) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $289.00 price target on the real estate investment trust’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Essex Property outperformed the industry it belongs to year to date. Moreover, the stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year funds from operations (FFO) per share being revised upward in two months’ time. Notably, the company delivered a better-than-expected performance for second-quarter 2017. Results reflect solid growth in revenues. With a strong property base and solid balance sheet, Essex is likely to leverage on favorable demographic trends in its markets. The company’s substantial exposure to the West Coast market, which is home to several innovation and technology companies, offers ample scope to boost its top line over the long term. Moreover, it has a 23-year history of increasing cash dividend. However, in the upcoming period, large concession amid elevated supply is likely to result in periodic disruption in certain submarkets. Also, rate hike adds to its woes.”

Other research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued an outperform rating and issued a $276.00 price objective (up previously from $267.00) on shares of Essex Property Trust in a research note on Sunday, August 13th. Canaccord Genuity set a $270.00 price objective on Essex Property Trust and gave the stock a hold rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Stifel Nicolaus began coverage on Essex Property Trust in a research note on Friday, September 1st. They issued a buy rating and a $294.00 price objective on the stock. Mizuho cut Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $283.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reissued a neutral rating on shares of Essex Property Trust in a research note on Monday, July 17th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating, eight have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $268.07.

Essex Property Trust (ESS) traded up 0.07% on Tuesday, hitting $261.28. The stock had a trading volume of 65,092 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $17.24 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.60 and a beta of 0.53. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $260.23 and its 200 day moving average is $255.48. Essex Property Trust has a 1-year low of $200.01 and a 1-year high of $270.04.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The real estate investment trust reported $2.97 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.92 by $0.05. Essex Property Trust had a return on equity of 8.03% and a net margin of 38.33%. The company had revenue of $339.06 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $336.17 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $2.74 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts predict that Essex Property Trust will post $5.89 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 29th will be issued a dividend of $1.75 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 28th. This represents a $7.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.68%. Essex Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio is presently 89.97%.

In other news, insider John D. Eudy sold 166 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, October 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $257.92, for a total transaction of $42,814.72. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Gary P. Martin sold 1,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $261.94, for a total value of $261,940.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 6,236 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,633,457.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 11,397 shares of company stock valued at $3,022,662. Company insiders own 3.30% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 2,296.8% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,479,030 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,500,090,000 after acquiring an additional 6,208,705 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 38.3% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,488,052 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $382,832,000 after acquiring an additional 412,316 shares during the last quarter. Koch Industries Inc. purchased a new position in Essex Property Trust in the 2nd quarter worth $301,000. American Century Companies Inc. purchased a new position in Essex Property Trust in the 2nd quarter worth $61,713,000. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 120.1% in the 2nd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 250,900 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $64,549,000 after acquiring an additional 136,900 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 99.46% of the company’s stock.

Essex Property Trust Company Profile

Essex Property Trust, Inc is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust. The Company is engaged primarily in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development and redevelopment of predominantly apartment communities, located along the West Coast. Its segments include Southern California, Northern California, Seattle Metro and Other real estate assets.

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