Rocketing to a price of $59.91 during today's afternoon trading session, shares of Equity Residential are still -16.73% below their average target price of $71.95. Could there be more upside potential for the stock? Analysts are giving EQR an average rating of hold and target prices ranging from $62.0 to $95.0 dollars per share.
The market sentiment on the stock is decidedly optimistic, since Equity Residential has a short interest of only 2.1%. This is the percentage of the share float that is being shorted. Each short position represents an investor's expectation that the price of the stock will decrease in the future.
When a stock is sold short, it means an investor has borrowed shares of the stock from their broker, and then sold them at the going market price. The investor hopes for the price to decline, so that they might buy those shares back at a lower price in the future. Once they do, they can return the borrowed shares to their broker, and keep the profit they made on the transaction.
One way to get an idea of the market sentiment on a stock is to check its rate of institutional ownership. In the case of Equity Residential, institutional investors own 92.6% of the shares. This would indicate a positive sentiment towards the stock among institutions. What does this really tell us?
Institutional investors such as hedge funds, investment firms, and wealth managers devote significant resources to identifying good investments. If they have decided to invest in EQR, it probably means they believe it is a solid investment choice. But it could also mean they are buying up shares in an effort to acquire the company or get seats on the board of directors. Also bear in mind that institutions are fallible (just maybe not quite as fallible as the average retail investor), so they may simply be wrong when they think they've found a good stock.
In conclusion, we see positive market sentiment regarding Equity Residential because of an analyst consensus of some upside potential, a hold rating, an average amount of shares sold short, and a significant number of institutional investors. At Market Inference, we believe that any investment decision should be preceded by an in-depth analysis of the company's fundamental values and a comparison with similar stocks.
Here's a snapshot of some important facts to keep in mind about EQR:
The stock has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $2.13
Equity Residential has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 28.1 compared to the S&P 500 average of 15.97
The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 2.07 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95
Equity Residential is a Real Estate company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 24.81 and 2.24 respectively