Short Interest in Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE:ESS) Drops By 17.2%

Essex Property Trust Inc (NYSE:ESS) saw a significant decrease in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 952,500 shares, a decrease of 17.2% from the December 15th total of 1,150,000 shares. Approximately 1.5% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 376,100 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.5 days.

Several analysts have commented on the stock. ValuEngine lowered shares of Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 2nd. Evercore ISI raised shares of Essex Property Trust from an “in-line” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $341.00 price target for the company in a research report on Tuesday, November 19th. Royal Bank of Canada lowered shares of Essex Property Trust from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating and decreased their price target for the company from $320.00 to $315.00 in a research report on Wednesday, December 18th. Barclays set a $350.00 price target on shares of Essex Property Trust and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, October 11th. Finally, BTIG Research lowered shares of Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, November 25th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $330.21.

Shares of ESS stock traded down $3.68 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $301.82. 335,081 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 439,687. The stock has a market cap of $19.98 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.01, a P/E/G ratio of 3.44 and a beta of 0.27. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $303.18 and its two-hundred day moving average is $312.59. Essex Property Trust has a 52-week low of $249.13 and a 52-week high of $334.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.94, a current ratio of 1.59 and a quick ratio of 1.59.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 23rd. The real estate investment trust reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $3.36 by ($1.83). The firm had revenue of $366.93 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $365.49 million. Essex Property Trust had a net margin of 29.78% and a return on equity of 6.73%. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $3.15 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Essex Property Trust will post 13.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, January 2nd will be issued a dividend of $1.95 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 31st. This represents a $7.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.58%. Essex Property Trust’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 62.05%.

In related news, EVP Craig K. Zimmerman sold 4,379 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $310.59, for a total value of $1,360,073.61. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 12,845 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,989,528.55. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 3.60% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. CX Institutional increased its holdings in shares of Essex Property Trust by 100.0% during the third quarter. CX Institutional now owns 84 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $27,000 after acquiring an additional 42 shares in the last quarter. HWG Holdings LP acquired a new position in shares of Essex Property Trust during the third quarter valued at about $31,000. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. increased its holdings in shares of Essex Property Trust by 144.6% during the second quarter. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. now owns 137 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $40,000 after acquiring an additional 81 shares in the last quarter. Private Capital Group LLC increased its holdings in shares of Essex Property Trust by 22.2% during the second quarter. Private Capital Group LLC now owns 176 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $42,000 after acquiring an additional 32 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Prime Capital Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Essex Property Trust during the third quarter valued at about $46,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 96.51% of the company’s stock.

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. Essex currently has ownership interests in 245 apartment communities with an additional 6 properties in various stages of active development.

Further Reading: Are sell-side analysts objective?

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