Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (NASDAQ:WHLR) and Essex Property Trust (NASDAQ:ESS) Critical Analysis

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust (NASDAQ:WHLR) and Essex Property Trust (NYSE:ESS) are both finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and valuation.

Dividends

Essex Property Trust pays an annual dividend of $7.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust does not pay a dividend. Essex Property Trust pays out 62.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years and Essex Property Trust has increased its dividend for 25 consecutive years.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

18.1% of Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 97.7% of Essex Property Trust shares are held by institutional investors. 5.3% of Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 3.6% of Essex Property Trust shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk and Volatility

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust has a beta of 3.69, indicating that its stock price is 269% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Essex Property Trust has a beta of 0.39, indicating that its stock price is 61% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust and Essex Property Trust, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust 0 0 0 0 N/A
Essex Property Trust 0 10 9 0 2.47

Essex Property Trust has a consensus target price of $281.69, indicating a potential downside of 5.47%. Given Essex Property Trust’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Essex Property Trust is more favorable than Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust.

Profitability

This table compares Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust and Essex Property Trust’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust -21.46% -103.06% -2.12%
Essex Property Trust 29.67% 6.50% 3.33%

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust and Essex Property Trust’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust $65.71 million 0.24 -$16.50 million N/A N/A
Essex Property Trust $1.40 billion 13.98 $390.15 million $12.57 23.71

Essex Property Trust has higher revenue and earnings than Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust.

Summary

Essex Property Trust beats Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust on 12 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Company Profile

Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust, Inc. is a fully-integrated, self-managed commercial real estate investment company focused on owning and operating income-producing retail properties with a primary focus on grocery-anchored centers. Wheeler's portfolio contains well-located, potentially dominant retail properties in secondary and tertiary markets that generate attractive, risk-adjusted returns, with a particular emphasis on grocery-anchored retail centers.

Essex Property Trust Company Profile

Essex Property Trust, Inc., an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily residential properties in selected West Coast markets. Essex currently has ownership interests in 245 apartment communities with an additional 6 properties in various stages of active development.

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