(Source: The Street)

The stock-market rally that’s propelled the S&P 500 Index to a 14% gain in the past three months has featured few losers. Just nine of 154 industry groups have declined. Not only have real estate investment trusts been among the best performers, but their dividends are at least twice that of the benchmark index.

Three of the 20 top-performing industry groups in the past three months are REIT-related. Industrial REITs have surged 54%, diversified REITs have jumped 46% and office REITs are up 39%.

REITs, as the trusts are known, offer a highly liquid and dividend-paying way to gain exposure to the real-estate market without the headaches of property ownership. Companies pay out 90% of their taxable income as dividends. As a result, REITs tend to spit out very high dividends. ProLogis (NYSE:PLD), Plum Creek Timber (NYSE:PCL) and Brookfield Properties (NYSE:BPO) pay yields of more than 4.7%, compared with 2.4% for the S&P 500.

Read the full article from The Street, here (September 28, 2009)

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