Equity Residential (EQR): Today's Featured Financial Winner

Equity Residential ( EQR) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Equity Residential rose $1.03 (1.7%) to $60.53 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.6 million shares of Equity Residential exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of two million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $58.96-$60.56 after having opened the day at $59.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $59.50. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Ohio Legacy Corporation ( OLCB), up 13.5%, CMS Bancorp ( CMSB), up 12.8%, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 10.9%, and Genworth Financial ( GNW), up 10.6%.

Equity Residential, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the acquisition, development, and management of multifamily properties in the United States. Equity Residential has a market cap of $17.89 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 198.4, equal to the average real estate industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are five analysts that rate Equity Residential a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equity Residential as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, 1st Century Bancshrs ( FCTY), down 12.4%, Barclays ( BCS), down 12.1%, Oak Ridge Financial Services ( BKOR), down 11.4%, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group ( RBS), down 10%, were all losers within the financial sector with Toronto-Dominion Bank ( TD) 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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