Essex Property Trust

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An earnings short-squeeze idea in the real estate complex is Essex Property Trust ( ESS), which is set to release numbers on Thursday after the market close. This real estate investment trust engages in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of apartment communities primarily in the West Coast of the U.S. Wall Street analysts, on average, expect Essex Property Trust to report revenue of $122.30 million on earnings of $1.52 per share.

If you're looking for a stock that's trending very strong heading into the quarter, then take a look at shares of Essex Property Trust. This stock is currently trading just 7 points off its 52-week high of $148.44 a share, with the stock changing hands at around $141.

The current short interest as a percentage of the float for Essex Property Trust stands at 6.9%. That means that out of the 33.61 million shares in the tradable float 2.3 million are sold short by the bears. This isn't a huge short interest, but its more than enough to spark a big short-squeeze.

From a technical standpoint, ESS is currently trading above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, which is bullish. This stock recently hit a near-term low of $120.58 a share and has since then trended higher and is now approaching a big breakout trade.

If you're bullish on ESS, I would wait until after it reports earnings and buy some shares if the stock breaks out above $145.55 with high volume. Look for volume that's tracking in close to or above its three-month average action of 341,884 shares. If we get that action, I would then add to any long positions once ESS takes out its 52-week high of $148.44 with volume.

I would avoid ESS altogether or get short if after its report the stock drops below some near-term support at $137.06 with volume. I would then add to any short positions if ESS takes out $130 with volume. Target a drop back toward $127.50 to $120.50 a share if the bears hammer this name post-earnings.

One big bet on Essex in the most recently reported quarter comes from Ken Heebner's Capital Growth Management, which maintained a 695,000-share position in the stock.

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