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Bloodbath on Wall Street

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Yesterday hurt. And I'm not talking about the Dow. Retail REITs were not immune from the broad sell-off. Every company we cover fell between 3 percent and 15 percent during the rout. The companies that got hurt the worst stand out. The two largest mall REITs--General Growth Properties and Simon Property Group--each fell by huge amounts. Simon's shares dropped from $98.05 to $83.01, a 15.3 percent drop. It now stands 23.8 percent off its 52-week high. General Growth fell from $27.55 to $23.75, a 13.8 percent drop. It is 58.9 percent off its 52-week high.

General Growth has gotten beaten up for months. There's been a lot written about its debt load. Its debt to market capitalization ratio just took another big hit after yesterday.

I'm a bit more surprised about Simon's fall. The company doesn't have the same kind of debt issues and its portfolio metrics remain strong. In fact, yesterday may have been an overreaction. Pre-market trading indicates Simon's stock will open up $5.00 per share. So what was behind the big sell-off yesterday for Simon?

Update 10:54 AM: It seems there might be some glitch with Simon's stock price. Some places had Simon's closing price at $83.01. However, elsewhere it was reported as $93.01. So maybe Simon's stock didn't plummet as much as it seemed yesterday. In any event, it's currently trading at about $93.00. So either it's recovered much of its losses from yesterday or else it never had them.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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