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Shares of Simon Property Group Inc. crafted a new 52-week high, touching $181.30 during the trading session on May 21. The closing price of this real estate investment trust (REIT) represents a solid year-to-date return of 14.3%. The trading volume for the session was over 0.9 million shares.

Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions over the last 30 days and expected year-over-year funds from operations (FFO) growth of 7.9% for 2013.

Growth Drivers

Impressive first-quarter 2013 results – including an earnings surprise of 2.0% and improving tenant sales per square foot and occupancy were the key growth drivers. In addition, management revised the company’s FFO per share outlook upward. The geographic and product diversity of the company provides a significant competitive advantage. Also, the company has a strong balance sheet with adequate liquidity.

On Apr 26, Simon Property reported first-quarter 2013 FFO per share of $2.05, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents. Moreover, this compared favorably with the year-ago quarter’s FFO per share of $1.82. The 12.6% year-over-year increase in quarterly FFO per share was primarily driven by a rise in overage revenues and occupancy.

Moreover, Simon Property has now delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters with an average beat of 3.6%.  

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 30 days, 7 of the 14 estimates for 2013 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate for FFO per share by 0.2% to $8.61 per share. For 2014, 6 of the 13 estimates moved north, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate FFO per share advance 0.9% to $9.33 per share.

A number of other REITs also touched 52-week highs on May 21. These include Health Care REIT, Inc. , Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. and Taubman Centers Inc. .

Note: Funds from operations, a widely accepted and reported measure of REITs performance, are derived by adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.
 

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