Essex Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE:ESS) Upgraded to “Buy” by 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 report report published on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $283.00 price target on the real estate investment trust’s stock.

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. Also, backed by solid growth in revenues, Essex Property delivered a better-than-expected core FFO per share for first-quarter 2017. Performance remained solid in the Seattle portfolio. The company raised its guidance for 2017 as well. 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.”

A number of other equities research analysts have also recently commented on ESS. BidaskClub cut shares of Essex Property Trust from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, June 30th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $234.00 price target on shares of Essex Property Trust in a report on Tuesday, July 4th. BTIG Research cut shares of Essex Property Trust from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report on Friday, June 30th. BMO Capital Markets set a $255.00 target price on shares of Essex Property Trust and gave the company a hold rating in a report on Thursday, May 25th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reissued a buy rating and set a $269.00 target price on shares of Essex Property Trust in a report on Wednesday, May 3rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $253.92.

Shares of Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) traded up 0.90% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $254.00. The stock had a trading volume of 360,273 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $16.66 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.54 and a beta of 0.52. Essex Property Trust has a 52 week low of $200.01 and a 52 week high of $268.97. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $260.16 and its 200 day moving average price is $238.93.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The real estate investment trust reported $2.94 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.89 by $0.05. The company had revenue of $335.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $332.80 million. Essex Property Trust had a net margin of 38.94% and a return on equity of 8.04%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $2.68 EPS. Analysts predict that Essex Property Trust will post $6.04 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 14th. Investors of record on Friday, June 30th will be given a $1.75 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, June 28th. This represents a $7.00 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.76%. Essex Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 89.74%.

In related news, insider Angela L. Kleiman sold 3,417 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, May 10th. The shares were sold at an average price of $252.35, for a total value of $862,279.95. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 10,594 shares in the company, valued at $2,673,395.90. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider John F. Burkart sold 6,667 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $248.71, for a total transaction of $1,658,149.57. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 11,152 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,773,613.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 32,660 shares of company stock valued at $8,230,670 over the last quarter. 3.30% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 2.1% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 11,404,375 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $2,640,455,000 after buying an additional 229,503 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 2,296.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 6,479,030 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $1,500,090,000 after buying an additional 6,208,705 shares during the last quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 0.7% in the first quarter. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. now owns 2,350,895 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $544,303,000 after buying an additional 16,150 shares during the last quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 1.6% in the first quarter. Principal Financial Group Inc. now owns 2,155,778 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $499,156,000 after buying an additional 34,654 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 7.5% in the first quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,325,290 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $306,844,000 after buying an additional 92,922 shares during the last quarter.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS)

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