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

Risk and Volatility

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

Profitability

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

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

Valuation and Earnings

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

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

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

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. Essex Property Trust has increased its dividend for 25 consecutive years and Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust has increased its dividend for 2 consecutive years.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

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

Analyst Ratings

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

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

Essex Property Trust currently has a consensus target price of $281.69, indicating a potential downside of 5.47%. Given Essex Property Trust’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts clearly believe Essex Property Trust is more favorable 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.

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.

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.

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