Dividend Hikes Lift REITs
On another choppy week, U.S. equity markets finished mostly lower despite a solid slate of economic data and assurances from the Federal Reserve that it would keep interest rates near-zero indefinitely.
Declining for the third-straight week following a six-week winning streak, the S&P 500 dipped another 1.0% this week and is now roughly 7% below its recent all-time highs.
An encouraging slate of dividend news and rent collection updates buoyed real estate equities this week, particularly the more beaten-down property sectors, including malls, hotels, student housing, and mortgage REITs.
After the Equity REIT sector was slammed by a wave of 64 dividend cuts in March through June, since then, we've seen far more dividend increases than dividend cuts in the REIT sector, including five more boosts from equity REITs and three from mortgage REITs this week.
Housing Heats-Up: Homebuilder Sentiment jumped to the strongest levels on record in September, driven by a surge in Home Buyer Traffic, which far exceeded previous record levels as inventory levels remain historically tight.