Zacks Investment Research Downgrades Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) to Hold

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday, July 17th.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Essex Property outperformed the Zacks categorized REIT and Equity Trust – Residential industry in the past three months. Additionally, funds from operations (FFO) per share estimates for second-quarter and full-year 2017 moved north over the past 30 days. Moving ahead, with a strong property base and solid balance sheet, Essex is likely to leverage on favorable demographic trends in its markets. Moreover, the company has a 23-year history of increasing cash dividend. However, there have been consistent apartment deliveries in its markets. Amid this, pricing power is anticipated to moderate and aggressive rental concessions are likely to continue.”

Several other research analysts have also commented on the company. BidaskClub raised Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 20th. SunTrust Banks, Inc. lowered Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $257.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Thursday, May 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. BTIG Research lowered Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $248.00 price target on shares of Essex Property Trust in a research report on Wednesday, March 29th. Finally, Evercore ISI lowered Essex Property Trust from an in-line rating to an underperform rating and set a $261.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Monday, June 12th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $263.46.

Shares of Essex Property Trust (NYSE ESS) opened at 259.14 on Monday. Essex Property Trust has a 1-year low of $200.01 and a 1-year high of $268.97. The company has a 50-day moving average of $260.52 and a 200-day moving average of $245.65. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.10 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.32 and a beta of 0.52.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The real estate investment trust reported $2.97 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.92 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $339.06 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $336.17 million. Essex Property Trust had a return on equity of 8.03% and a net margin of 38.33%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $2.74 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Essex Property Trust will post $5.95 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 14th. Investors of record on Friday, June 30th were issued a dividend of $1.75 per share. This represents a $7.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, June 28th. Essex Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio is presently 89.97%.

In related news, insider John F. Burkart sold 167 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $254.75, for a total transaction of $42,543.25. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 4,652 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,185,097. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Michael J. Schall sold 333 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $263.97, for a total value of $87,902.01. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 45,096 shares in the company, valued at approximately $11,903,991.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 6,690 shares of company stock worth $1,717,142 in the last ninety days. 3.30% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. IFP Advisors Inc raised its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 0.3% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 1,575 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $405,000 after buying an additional 4 shares in the last quarter. BTR Capital Management Inc. increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 0.7% in the second quarter. BTR Capital Management Inc. now owns 1,587 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $408,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. Bbva Compass Bancshares Inc. increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 1.4% in the second quarter. Bbva Compass Bancshares Inc. now owns 1,140 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $293,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the last quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 0.3% in the second quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 7,065 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,818,000 after buying an additional 24 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Tiemann Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in Essex Property Trust by 0.6% in the first quarter. Tiemann Investment Advisors LLC now owns 4,050 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $938,000 after buying an additional 25 shares during the last quarter. 98.88% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Essex Property Trust

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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