Essex Property Trust Inc. (NYSE:ESS) fell 1.8% during mid-day trading on Thursday . The company traded as low as $230.08 and last traded at $230.09, with a volume of 114,852 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $234.26.

A number of brokerages have recently issued reports on ESS. Capital One Financial Corp. raised shares of Essex Property Trust from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, May 16th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 11th. Mizuho upped their price objective on shares of Essex Property Trust to $249.00 in a research note on Monday, March 21st. Evercore ISI upped their price objective on shares of Essex Property Trust to $255.00 in a research note on Monday, March 21st. Finally, Raymond James Financial Inc. raised shares of Essex Property Trust from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $250.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Thursday, May 5th. Fourteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $244.28.

The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $221.17 and its 200 day moving average price is $222.57. The company has a market cap of $15.02 billion and a PE ratio of 61.02.

Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, April 28th. The real estate investment trust reported $2.68 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.61 by $0.07. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $2.29 EPS. On average, analysts forecast that Essex Property Trust Inc. will post $10.98 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 30th will be paid a $1.60 dividend. This represents a $6.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.79%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 28th.

In related news, CEO Michael J. Schall sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, July 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $222.23, for a total value of $2,222,300.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 47,954 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,656,817.42. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Irving F. Lyons III sold 2,678 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $228.67, for a total transaction of $612,378.26. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 8,973 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,051,855.91. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

A number of hedge funds have added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 4,314 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,033,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the period. Eaton Vance Management raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 66.8% in the fourth quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 4,743 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,136,000 after buying an additional 1,900 shares during the period. Profund Advisors LLC raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 19.3% in the fourth quarter. Profund Advisors LLC now owns 5,097 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,220,000 after buying an additional 823 shares during the period. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. raised its stake in Essex Property Trust by 19.7% in the fourth quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 5,921 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $1,418,000 after buying an additional 973 shares during the period. Finally, Quantitative Investment Management LLC acquired a new stake in Essex Property Trust during the fourth quarter worth $1,508,000.

Essex Property Trust, Inc is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. As of October 13, 2014, it had ownership interests in 242 apartment communities with an additional 11 properties in various stages of development or in the initial leasing phase.

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