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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Essex Property ( ESS) pushed the Real Estate industry lower today making it today's featured Real Estate laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Essex Property fell $3.46 (-2.0%) to $168.84 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,538,216 shares of Essex Property exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 761,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $167.62-$172.98 after having opened the day at $171.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $172.30. Other companies within the Real Estate industry that declined today were: Desarrolladora Homex SAB de CV ADR ( HXM), down 8.0%, Income Opportunity Realty Investors ( IOT), down 7.7%, IFM Investments ( CTC), down 7.1% and China HGS Real Estate ( HGSH), down 4.8%.

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 $6.7 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 20.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Essex Property a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 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 good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), up 10.4%, Roberts Realty Investors ( RPI), up 6.7%, Vestin Realty Mortgage I ( VRTA), up 5.1% and Maui Land & Pineapple Company ( MLP), up 4.9%.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the real estate industry could consider iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate ( IYR) while those bearish on the real estate industry could consider ProShares Short Real Estate Fund ( REK).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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