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

Essex Property ( ESS) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, Essex Property fell $1.48 (-0.9%) to $156.47 on average volume. Throughout the day, 294,406 shares of Essex Property exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 269,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $155.20-$159.69 after having opened the day at $159.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $157.95. Other company's within the Financial sector that declined today were: Cash America International ( CSH), down 18.7%, United Community Banks ( UCBI), down 15%, Colony Bankcorp ( CBAN), down 13.4%, and Central Federal ( CFBK), down 11.6%.

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 $5.51 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 134.9, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 95.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 12.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Essex Property a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 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 positive front, MPG Office ( MPG), up 26.9%, First Financial Service Corporation ( FFKY), up 21.1%, Plumas Bancorp ( PLBC), up 16.5%, and Stewart Information Services ( STC), up 16.1%, were all gainers within the financial sector with Bank of America Corporation ( BAC) 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 ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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