Sector Update: Financial

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Financial stocks were higher, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising about 0.3% and the S&P Financial 100 Index climbing about 0.5%.

In company news, shares of Essex Property Trust Inc. ( ESS ) were lower this afternoon, retreating after earlier reaching a new 52-week high and shaking off any apparent ill effect of a downgrade to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolas, citing valuation.

The research shop also removed its $165 price target for the stock.

In a new research note Wednesday, Stifel analyst Rond Petrik wrote ESS shares have already breached his previous target price as well as projections for a net asset value of up to $168, adding, "We do not feel compelled to chase the stock given the volatility in the market."

ESS shares were down 1.6% at $169.10 apiece in mid-day trade, earlier climbing to a new 52-week high of $173.01 during the first hour of Wednesday's session. The stock is up nearly 21% since Dec. 19 when the real estate investment trust proposed to merge with BRE Properties ( BRE ) in a stock swap valued at around $14.5 billion.

In other sector news,

(+) KKR, (+0.1%) Announces final closing of the $2 bln KKR Energy Income and Growth Fund I, which will invest in unconventional oil and gas resources in North America.

(-) BKU, (-1.4%) Prices secondary offering of 10.3 mln shares of its common stock previously owned by affiliates of the Blackstone Group ( BX ), the Carlyle Group ( CG ), WL Ross & Co., and Centerbridge Partners LP at $33.50 apiece.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: ESS , BRE , BX , CG

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