Essex Property Trust (ESS): Today's Featured Financial Winner

Essex Property ( ESS) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.1%. By the end of trading, Essex Property rose 99 cents (0.7%) to $150.21 on average volume. Throughout the day, 317,813 shares of Essex Property exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 279,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $147.20-$150.31 after having opened the day at $147.77 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $149.22. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 35.6%, Central Federal ( CFBK), up 17.3%, Gleacher ( GLCH), up 15.4%, and United Security ( USBI), up 12.8%.

Essex Property Trust, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It primarily engages in acquiring, developing, redeveloping, and managing multifamily apartment communities. Essex Property has a market cap of $5.28 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 129.2, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 91.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Essex Property a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Essex Property as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

On the negative front, Carver Bancorp ( CARV), down 14.8%, Crescent Financial ( CRFN), down 13.8%, Green Bankshares ( GRNB), down 13.3%, and CMS Bancorp ( CMSB), down 12.2%, were all losers within the financial sector with BlackRock ( BLK) being today's financial sector loser.

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 ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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