Essex Property Trust Inc. (NYSE:ESS) was down 1.8% during trading on Thursday . The stock 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.

Several equities research analysts recently commented on ESS shares. Evercore ISI cut Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday. Jefferies Group cut Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and lowered their price target for the company from $265.00 to $230.00 in a research note on Wednesday, June 8th. Sandler O’Neill cut Essex Property Trust from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, May 2nd. Raymond James Financial Inc. raised Essex Property Trust from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $250.00 price target for the company in a research note on Thursday, May 5th. Finally, Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Essex Property Trust in a research report on Saturday, June 4th. Sixteen equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $244.28.

The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $221.15 and its 200 day moving average price is $222.47. The company has a market cap of $14.83 billion and a PE ratio of 60.23.

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

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, June 30th were paid a dividend of $1.60 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, June 28th. This represents a $6.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.82%.

In other news, Director Irving F. Lyons III sold 2,678 shares of Essex Property Trust stock in a transaction that occurred on 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 transaction, the director now directly owns 8,973 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,051,855.91. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Michael J. Schall sold 10,000 shares of Essex Property Trust stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $222.23, for a total value of $2,222,300.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 47,954 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $10,656,817.42. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other hedge funds and institutional investors have modified their holdings of the company. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 19,550 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $4,680,000 after buying an additional 80 shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS increased its position in shares of 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 valued at $1,033,000 after buying an additional 90 shares in the last quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 7,403 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $1,772,000 after buying an additional 127 shares in the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors increased its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 1.4% in the fourth quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 26,396 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $6,319,000 after buying an additional 364 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC increased its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Alpine Woods Capital Investors LLC now owns 24,065 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $5,761,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter.

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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