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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Net Lease M&A • Soft Economic Data • REIT Dividend Hikes

  • U.S. equity markets extended their slide Thursday despite an apparent resolution in the looming railroad strike as lukewarm economic data likely kept the Fed on course for a "jumbo" rate hike next week.

  • Closing at its lowest level in nearly two months and giving back yesterday's modest gains, the S&P 500 dipped 1.1% today while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 dipped nearly 2%.

  • Real estate equities were among the laggards today despite some positive M&A and dividend news as the Equity REIT Index declined by 1.9% with 18-of-19 property sectors in negative-territory while.

  • STORE Capital (STOR) – our second largest holding in the REIT Focused Income Portfolio - surged 20% today after it announced that it reached a deal to be acquired by GIC and Blue Owl’s Oak Street for $32.25 in cash – a 20.4% premium to STOR's last closing price.

  • Innovative Industrial (IIPR) - which has been slammed this year on concerns over credit and rent payment issues among its cannabis cultivator tenants - rallied 2% today after it hiked its quarterly dividend by 3% to $1.80/share, representing a forward yield of 8.09%

 

Real Estate Daily Recap

U.S. equity markets extended their slide Thursday despite an apparent resolution in the looming rail strike as a mixed slate of economic data likely kept the Fed on course to deliver a jumbo rate hike next week. Closing at its lowest level in nearly two months and giving back yesterday's modest gains, the S&P 500 dipped 1.1% today while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 dipped nearly 2%. Crude Oil dipped more than 4% while the US Dollar Index strengthened to fresh two-decade highs. Real estate equities were among the laggards today despite some positive M&A and dividend news as the Equity REIT Index declined by 1.9% with 18-of-19 property sectors in negative-territory while the Mortgage REIT Index slipped 2.4%.

The 10-Year Treasury Yield climbed another 5 basis points to close at 3.46% today - just below its highest levels in fifteen years despite a mixed slate of economic data as solid jobless claims data was offset by weak industrial production figures and softening retail sales data. The BLS reported this morning that retail sales activity increased modestly in August, rising 0.3% on a month-over-month basis - but a downward revision to the prior month resulted in a weaker-than-expected total sales figure. On a year-over-year basis, total retail sales were higher by 9.1% - below the 9.3% forecast - as lower spending at the gasoline station was offset by an uptick in spending at home improvement stores and at restaurants. Excluding the volatile autos category - which jumped 2.8% for the month - sales decreased 0.3% for the month, below the estimate for a 0.1% increase.


The weak retail sales data - together with the weaker-than-expected industrial production data this morning - prompted another downward revision to the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model, which is now dangerously close to projecting a third-straight quarter of GDP contraction. The Atlanta Fed's model - which accurately foretold the unexpected contraction last quarter - now forecasts GDP growth of just 0.5% in Q3 - down sharply from its 2.6% forecast two weeks ago. The Atlanta Fed's metric tracking the Blue Chip consensus - based on the monthly Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey - now projects negative GDP growth at the median in its latest survey, down sharply from the prior forecast. Third quarter GDP will be released on October 28th - less than two weeks before the U.S. midterm elections.

Real Estate Daily Recap

Best & Worst Performance Today Across the REIT Sector

Net Lease: STORE Capital (STOR) – our second largest holding in the REIT Focused Income Portfolio - surged 20% today after it announced that it reached a deal to be acquired by GIC and Blue Owl’s Oak Street for $32.25 in cash – a 20.4% premium to STOR's last closing price. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2023 and STOR’s third-quarter dividend will be its final dividend until the closing. The closing of the transaction is not subject to any financing conditions and the definitive merger agreement includes a 30-day “go-shop” period that will expire on October 15, 2022. The acquisition of STOR - the third largest net lease REIT behind Realty Income (O) and WP Carey (WPC) follows a quiet four months of REIT major M&A. We analyzed the net lease sector in a report published yesterday - Net Lease REITs: Inflation Risk Persists - which discussed how net lease REITs have surprisingly been among the best-performing property sectors this year despite the challenging rising-rate environment.

Cannabis: Innovative Industrial (IIPR) - which has been slammed this year on concerns over credit and rent payment issues among its cannabis cultivator tenants - rallied 2% today after it hiked its quarterly dividend by 3% to $1.80/share, representing a forward yield of 8.09%. We've now seen 105 REIT dividend hikes so far this year while six REITs have cut their dividends. As discussed this week in 100 REIT Dividend Hikes - our quarterly State of the REIT Nation Report - property-level fundamentals have been quite strong - and strengthening - for most property sectors in recent quarters despite the broader economic slowdown this year. Dividends per share rose by 15.1% in Q2 from last year, but total dividend payouts remain roughly 13% below pre-pandemic levels as many REITs have been exceedingly conservative in their dividend policies.

Casino: Today we published Casino REITs: Taking Some Chips Off the Table on the Income Builder Marketplace. The lone property sector in positive-territory this year, Casino REITs have defied macro headwinds much like their traditional net lease peers, benefiting from an upward valuation re-rating and institutional acceptance. Casino REITs have become a favorite for investors seeking inflation-hedged assets. VICI Properties (VICI) boasts inflation-linked escalators on 96% of its leases while Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI) benefits from indirect inflation hedges linked to tenant performance. The recent outperformance can be attributed to VICI’s inclusion in the S&P 500 in June following its merger with MGM Properties, becoming the fastest REIT to be included in the benchmark. For the critical Las Vegas market, robust leisure demand has fueled a near-full recovery in hotel occupancy despite still-weak convention-related demand, but we note that tenant operators aren't immune from the risks of a potentially prolonged recession.

Mortgage REIT Daily Recap

Per the REIT Rankings Tracker available to Income Builder subscribers, mortgage REITs were under pressure today as residential mREITs dipped 2.4% while commercial mREITs declined by 1.9%. Ladder Capital (LADR) was among the leaders today after it hiked its quarterly dividend for the second time this year to declare $0.23/share, a 4.5% increase from its prior dividend of $0.22. A handful of REITs held their dividends steady over the past 24 hours including AGNC Investment (AGNC), Ready Capital (RC), AFC Gamma (AFCG), BrightSpire Capital (BRSP), Cherry Hill (CHMI), AG Mortgage (MITT), and Broadmark Realty (BRMK). We've seen 13 mREITs increase their dividend this year and 4 dividend cuts.

Economic Data This Week

The busy week of inflation data concludes on Friday with Michigan Consumer Sentiment for September. The Fed is particularly interested in the 5-Year Inflation Expectations survey, looking for signs of a potential "wage-price inflation spiral" through elevated consumer wage expectations.

Disclosure: Hoya Capital Real Estate advises two Exchange-Traded Funds listed on the NYSE. In addition to any long positions listed below, Hoya Capital is long all components in the Hoya Capital Housing 100 Index and in the Hoya Capital High Dividend Yield Index. Index definitions and a complete list of holdings are available on our website.

Hoya Capital Research & Index Innovations (“Hoya Capital”) is an affiliate of Hoya Capital Real Estate, a registered investment advisory firm based in Rowayton, Connecticut that provides investment advisory services to ETFs, individuals, and institutions. Hoya Capital Research & Index Innovations provides non-advisory services including market commentary, research, and index administration focused on publicly traded securities in the real estate industry.


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