Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model


Essex Property



) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Essex Property fell $1.59 (-1%) to $155.80 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 771,296 shares of Essex Property exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 260,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $152.64-$157.02 after having opened the day at $156.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $157.39. Other companies within the Financial sector that declined today were:

Charter Financial



), down 18.7%,

American Spectrum Realty



), down 13.7%,

Village Bank and Trust Financial Corporatio



), down 8.7%, and

Credit Suisse



), down 7.9%.

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Essex Property Trust, Inc. operates as a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust in the United States. It engages in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of apartment communities, as well as commercial properties. Essex Property has a market cap of $5.95 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Essex Property a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Essex Property as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the positive front,

Altis Resident



), up 33.3%,

GAIN Capital Holdings



), up 23.4%,

Emclaire Financial Corporation



), up 9.3%, and

Prudential Bancorp Inc. of Pennsylvania



), up 9%, were all gainers within the financial sector with




) being today's featured financial sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial sector could consider

Financial Select Sector SPDR



) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider

Proshares Short Financials




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