Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) was the recipient of a significant growth in short interest in August. As of August 15th, there was short interest totalling 5,156,700 shares, a growth of 10.2% from the July 15th total of 4,679,900 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 1,210,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 4.3 days. Currently, 1.4% of the shares of the company are sold short.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on EQR. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Equity Residential from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $86.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, August 12th. SunTrust Banks increased their price target on shares of Equity Residential from $74.00 to $80.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, August 23rd. Argus increased their price target on shares of Equity Residential to $84.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, May 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on shares of Equity Residential from $70.00 to $79.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Thursday, June 27th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $75.98.

In related news, CFO Robert Garechana sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $83.55, for a total transaction of $417,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Alan W. George sold 33,302 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $80.64, for a total transaction of $2,685,473.28. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 41,280 shares in the company, valued at $3,328,819.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 197,744 shares of company stock worth $15,998,864 over the last three months. 3.75% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Equity Residential by 0.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 48,372,951 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $3,672,474,000 after buying an additional 168,854 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Equity Residential by 2.3% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 42,189,362 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $3,177,704,000 after purchasing an additional 942,825 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC increased its position in Equity Residential by 15.8% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 10,042,326 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $756,387,000 after purchasing an additional 1,373,126 shares during the last quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. increased its position in Equity Residential by 74.6% during the second quarter. Cohen & Steers Inc. now owns 6,812,818 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $517,229,000 after purchasing an additional 2,911,036 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp increased its position in Equity Residential by 0.4% during the first quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 6,770,425 shares of the real estate investment trust’s stock worth $509,949,000 after purchasing an additional 28,685 shares during the last quarter. 87.43% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

EQR traded up $0.23 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $84.50. 109,432 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,432,504. The company has a current ratio of 1.45, a quick ratio of 1.45 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. The company has a market capitalization of $31.07 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.00, a PEG ratio of 4.08 and a beta of 0.51. Equity Residential has a 52-week low of $62.40 and a 52-week high of $84.41. The business has a 50 day simple moving average of $80.22 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of $76.88.

Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The real estate investment trust reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.85 by ($0.02). The company had revenue of $669.37 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $667.59 million. Equity Residential had a net margin of 28.27% and a return on equity of 7.21%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.81 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Equity Residential will post 3.45 earnings per share for the current year.

Equity Residential Company Profile

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.

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