EastGroup Properties Inc. (NYSE:EGP) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $81.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price target points to a potential upside of 11.63% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “EastGroup Properties is a self-administered real estate investment trust focused on ownership, acquisition and selective development of industrial properties. The company pursues a three-pronged investment strategy that includes: the acquisition of industrial properties at favorable initial yields, with opportunities to improve cash flow performance through management; selective development of industrial properties in markets where they already has a presence and where market conditions justify such investments; and the acquisition of existing public & private companies. “

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued research reports about the stock. Sandler O’Neill cut shares of EastGroup Properties from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 22nd. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating and issued a $70.00 price objective on shares of EastGroup Properties in a research report on Thursday, July 28th. Stifel Nicolaus cut shares of EastGroup Properties from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 22nd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “hold” rating on shares of EastGroup Properties in a research report on Friday, June 17th. Finally, TheStreet upgraded shares of EastGroup Properties from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 14th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. EastGroup Properties presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.10.

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Shares of EastGroup Properties (NYSE:EGP) traded up 2.23% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $72.56. 199,042 shares of the company traded hands. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $72.44 and its 200 day moving average is $66.25. EastGroup Properties has a 12-month low of $49.31 and a 12-month high of $76.00. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.38 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.27 and a beta of 0.97.

EastGroup Properties (NYSE:EGP) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.99 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $0.99. EastGroup Properties had a net margin of 36.63% and a return on equity of 15.59%. The firm earned $61.92 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $61.53 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.92 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that EastGroup Properties will post $3.99 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30th. Investors of record on Monday, September 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.62 per share. This is a positive change from EastGroup Properties’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 15th. This represents a $2.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.42%. EastGroup Properties’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 90.51%.

In related news, insider Bruce Corkern sold 2,475 shares of EastGroup Properties stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.40, for a total transaction of $176,715.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director David H. Hoster II sold 10,000 shares of EastGroup Properties stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $73.01, for a total transaction of $730,100.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 192,037 shares in the company, valued at approximately $14,020,621.37. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 3.60% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in EastGroup Properties by 7.1% in the fourth quarter. Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 18,326 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,019,000 after buying an additional 1,220 shares during the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of EastGroup Properties during the fourth quarter worth $16,827,000. Sanders Morris Harris Inc. bought a new position in shares of EastGroup Properties during the first quarter worth $1,327,000. Aperio Group LLC raised its position in shares of EastGroup Properties by 21.5% in the first quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 8,196 shares of the company’s stock worth $495,000 after buying an additional 1,452 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Virginia Retirement System bought a new position in shares of EastGroup Properties during the first quarter worth $3,526,000. 94.42% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

EastGroup Properties Company Profile

EastGroup Properties, Inc is an equity real estate investment trust. The Company is focused on the development, acquisition and operation of industrial properties in various Sunbelt markets across the United States with an emphasis in the states of Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and North Carolina.

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