Zacks Investment Research Lowers Essex Property Trust (ESS) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “With a strong property base in the West Coast market and solid balance sheet strength, Essex Property is likely to leverage on favorable demographic trends, household formation, recovering economy and job market growth 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. The region is witnessing increased percentage of renters than owners, and favorable migration trends with the influx of workers to its markets, mainly from major East Coast markets. However, apartment deliveries are expected to remain elevated in a number of its markets in the near term. Moreover, aggressive rental concessions and moderate pricing power amid high supply remain concerns. Also, shares of Essex Property have underperformed its industry in the past six months.”

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Essex Property Trust from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 11th. DA Davidson reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Essex Property Trust in a research report on Monday, August 6th. Citigroup lowered shares of Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a neutral rating and cut their price objective for the company from $280.00 to $260.00 in a research report on Friday, September 14th. Barclays lowered their target price on shares of Essex Property Trust from $272.00 to $269.00 and set an overweight rating on the stock in a research note on Tuesday, July 17th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus raised shares of Essex Property Trust from a hold rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the company from $235.00 to $260.00 in a research note on Thursday, August 2nd. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the stock. Essex Property Trust presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $263.35.

Shares of ESS opened at $245.64 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $16.13 billion, a PE ratio of 20.62, a P/E/G ratio of 3.18 and a beta of 0.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88, a current ratio of 1.85 and a quick ratio of 1.85. Essex Property Trust has a 52 week low of $214.03 and a 52 week high of $264.07.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 1st. The real estate investment trust reported $3.14 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $3.10 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $348.72 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $348.58 million. Essex Property Trust had a net margin of 27.05% and a return on equity of 5.52%. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $2.97 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Essex Property Trust will post 12.58 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, October 12th. Investors of record on Friday, September 28th were paid a $1.86 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 27th. This represents a $7.44 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.03%. Essex Property Trust’s payout ratio is currently 62.47%.

In related news, insider Angela L. Kleiman sold 750 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $240.80, for a total value of $180,600.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 9,149 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,203,079.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. In the last three months, insiders sold 917 shares of company stock worth $222,229. 3.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of ESS. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its stake in Essex Property Trust by 10.2% during the first quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 70,803 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $17,041,000 after buying an additional 6,569 shares during the last quarter. Point72 Asset Management L.P. bought a new stake in Essex Property Trust during the first quarter worth about $1,300,000. Point72 Asia Hong Kong Ltd bought a new stake in Essex Property Trust during the first quarter worth about $105,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in Essex Property Trust by 40.3% during the first quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 109,833 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $26,434,000 after buying an additional 31,575 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Legal & General Group Plc grew its stake in Essex Property Trust by 5.0% during the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 574,650 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $138,293,000 after buying an additional 27,556 shares during the last quarter. 96.19% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Essex Property Trust

Essex Property Trust, Inc, an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. The Company currently has ownership interests in 247 apartment communities comprising approximately 60,000 apartment homes, excluding six properties in various stages of active development, one commercial building, preferred equity co-investments, and loan investments.

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