REITs Provide Shelter In Choppy Markets
U.S. equity markets slumped on another choppy week as amplified COVID concerns from the Omicron variant clashed with central bank pivots towards monetary tightening with a backdrop of soaring inflation.
Following its best week of gains since February, the S&P 500 slipped 2.3% on the week while Mid-Caps and Small-Caps posted similar declines. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped more than 3%.
Real estate equities were again a source of strength. REITs extended their lead as the best-performing asset class this year as the Equity REIT Index gained 0.9% on the week.
Santa was busy yet again this past week delivering another wave of REIT dividend increases and special dividends. Eight more REITs hiked the regular distribution rates and two declared special dividends.
Powered by relentless housing demand, Homebuilder Sentiment improved to 10-month highs while Housing Starts climbed to 8-month highs, consistent with recent housing market data showing an acceleration in activity following a summer lull.