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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

REITs Retreat Amid Reopening Resistance

  • U.S. equity markets reversed last week's gains after Congressional leaders and Federal officials pushed back on plans to end government-mandated lockdowns despite an unprecedented surge in joblessness.

  • Jobless Claims data this week showed that one-fifth of the American workforce is now unemployed, at least temporarily, while Retail Sales data showed a historic plunge as the "retail-casualties" mount.

  • The momentum faded this week for real estate equities after two weeks of solid gains amid a generally stronger-than-expected earnings season in which most REITs reported strong rent collection metrics.

  • Nearly a third of the equity REIT sector and the vast majority of mortgage REITs have suspended or reduced their dividend since the start of the pandemic as some small-cap retail and hotel REITs are in a fight for survival.

  • There were glimmers of strength amid an otherwise bleak slate of economic data. Redfin noted that home-buying demand has "come roaring back" and is now 5.5% higher than it was pre-pandemic.

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