Equity Residential Target of Unusually High Options Trading (NYSE:EQR)

Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Investors bought 1,967 call options on the stock. This is an increase of 1,581% compared to the average daily volume of 117 call options.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on EQR. Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on shares of Equity Residential in a report on Friday, November 8th. They set a “sell” rating and a $86.00 price objective for the company. Barclays reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $87.00 price objective on shares of Equity Residential in a report on Sunday, October 13th. SunTrust Banks set a $82.00 price objective on shares of Equity Residential and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, October 25th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Equity Residential from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $90.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, December 2nd. Finally, Raymond James downgraded shares of Equity Residential from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 7th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. Equity Residential currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $83.06.

Shares of EQR stock traded up $0.08 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $82.15. The stock had a trading volume of 8,303 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,475,072. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $81.91 and its two-hundred day moving average price is $83.12. Equity Residential has a 52-week low of $67.80 and a 52-week high of $89.55. The firm has a market capitalization of $30.45 billion, a PE ratio of 25.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.62 and a beta of 0.40. The company has a current ratio of 0.13, a quick ratio of 0.13 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87.

Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 22nd. The real estate investment trust reported $0.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.88 by ($0.17). Equity Residential had a net margin of 29.88% and a return on equity of 7.73%. The firm had revenue of $685.15 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $679.66 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.83 EPS. Equity Residential’s revenue was up 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Equity Residential will post 3.47 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, January 10th. Investors of record on Thursday, January 2nd were given a dividend of $0.567 per share. This represents a $2.27 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.76%. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, December 31st. Equity Residential’s dividend payout ratio is currently 69.85%.

In other news, Director Mark S. Shapiro sold 3,294 shares of Equity Residential stock in a transaction on Thursday, January 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.05, for a total transaction of $266,978.70. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 6,865 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $556,408.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Christa L. Sorenson sold 2,378 shares of Equity Residential stock in a transaction on Thursday, October 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $87.60, for a total transaction of $208,312.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 118,024 shares of company stock valued at $10,092,351. Insiders own 3.75% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cutler Group LP increased its position in shares of Equity Residential by 105.0% during the third quarter. Cutler Group LP now owns 414 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $35,000 after buying an additional 8,767 shares during the period. Rational Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Equity Residential by 195.5% during the third quarter. Rational Advisors LLC now owns 591 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $51,000 after buying an additional 391 shares during the period. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. increased its position in shares of Equity Residential by 362.5% during the second quarter. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. now owns 666 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $51,000 after buying an additional 522 shares during the period. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC purchased a new position in shares of Equity Residential during the third quarter valued at about $75,000. Finally, Bartlett & Co. LLC increased its position in shares of Equity Residential by 188.8% during the third quarter. Bartlett & Co. LLC now owns 1,606 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 1,050 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 89.16% of the company’s stock.

About Equity Residential

Equity Residential is an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of rental apartment properties located in urban and high-density suburban markets where today's renters want to live, work and play. Equity Residential owns or has investments in 307 properties consisting of 79,482 apartment units, primarily located in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California and Denver.

Further Reading: S&P/ASX 200 Index

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