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National Retail Properties, Inc. (NNN - Snapshot Report), a publicly owned equity real estate investment trust (REIT), has recently increased its quarterly dividend by 2.6% from 38.5 cents to 39.5 cents per share. The current dividend payout equates to $1.58 per share on an annualized basis, and affirms a yield of 5.4%. The dividend is payable on August 15, 2012 to shareholders of record as on July 31, 2012.
The company has been paying uninterrupted annual dividends for the last 23 years. To add another feather in its cap, National Retail has the unique distinction of being one of only four publicly traded REITs and 104 publicly traded companies in the U.S. to have increased annual dividends for 23 or more consecutive years.
A steady dividend payout facilitates the long-term strategy of National Retail to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to its stockholders. Investors looking for high dividend yields are increasingly favoring REITs like National Retail. Solid dividend payouts are arguably the biggest enticement for REIT investors as the U.S. law requires REITs to distribute 90% of their annual taxable income in the form of dividends to shareholders.
Earlier, National Retail had increased its 2012 FFO (funds from operations) guidance from $1.62 - $1.67 to $1.67 - $1.72 per share based on the solid performance from its operating property portfolio, strong balance sheet, and accretive effect from property acquisitions. Funds from operations, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, are obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.
National Retail primarily invests in high-quality properties subject to long-term net leases. As of March 31, 2012, the company owned 1,486 Investment properties in 47 states with a gross leasable area of approximately 17.0 million square feet.
We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on National Retail, which currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank that translates into a short-term Hold rating. We also have a Neutral recommendation and a Zacks #3 Rank for DDR Corp. (DDR - Analyst Report), one of the competitors of National Retail.
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