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Simon Property - good stock in REIT industry

REIT stock were under pressure last months due to expected Fed's rate hike. Generally, REITs largely depend on debt for their expansion, so a rise in interest rates could be a big setback to many of them, as it would lead to higher borrowing costs, thus affecting their profitability. However, recent US macro data suggest that Fed's rate hike will be postponed to 2016, and REIT stock, in my opinion, have a chance to recover.

Simon Property Group (SPG) is a leading global retail real estate investment trust. The company's financials for the second quarter of 2015 were solid, with funds from operations (FFO) per share jumping 22% y-o-y and surpassing consensus estimate. Moreover, the company raised its full-year 2015 FFO per share guidance.

Recently, Simon Property announced that it opened Tucson Premium Outlets, bringing the world's most recognized and popular brand of upscale outlet shopping to the greater Tucson area. The new center offers 366,000 square feet of retail space, and features over 90 retailers. Some of the well-known brands include Adidas, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Forever 21, Lucky Brand, Michael Kors, Nike. Also, the project has delivered strong positive economic impact by creating around 800 permanent and part-time jobs as well as hundreds of construction positions.

Notably, 2015 has been a productive year for Simon Property with respect to premium outlets. Since May, the company has executed expansion activities at various centers, including Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, San Francisco Premium Outlets and Chicago Premium Outlets. In August, Simon Property opened Gloucester Premium Outlets, while Tampa Premium Outlets is scheduled to open late October. With the US economy showing signs of recovery, spending power of richer consumers is improving and Simon Property seems keen on leveraging this trend.

Besides, Simon Property remains shareholder-friendly. In Q2, the company spent $505.7 mn on share repurchase. A quarterly dividend was $1.55, up 3.2% sequentially and 19.2% y-o-y, which offers a healthy annualized dividend yield of 3.2%.

Simon Property’s shares, in my opinion, are worth having in medium-term investment portfolios. Target price is $205.