The Apartment Finance Today Index posted strong results this month, gaining 34.21 points, or 2.85%, to close at 1,234.32 for the month-long session ended March 15, 2006. Of the 18 stocks tracked in the AFT Index, advancing issues handily outpaced decliners by an 8-to-1 margin.
A positive outlook from DuPont and an upbeat manufacturing report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank gave the markets the boost they needed to end the month in the black. The New York Fed’s Empire State Index is seen as a good predictor for the national manufacturing survey, and its March numbers were higher than expected at 31.2, the strongest reading since July 2004, and up from 21.0 in February.
The positive momentum helped push the S&P 500 Index above the 1,300 mark for the first time since May 2001, and the Fed’s Beige Book, a report on regional economic conditions, supported hope on Wall Street that rate hikes were nearing their end. “Any sort of economic data that is going to make the case for solid economic growth but no need for the Fed to raise rates any further is going to be well received,” said John Caldwell, chief investment strategist at McDonald Financial Group. “The market is comfortable with one or two more rate hikes, and then a pause.”
In the AFT Index, CharterMac was the top percentage loser, closing at 21.35. Shares of the real estate finance company slipped 0.40 points, or 1.84%, this session after the company reported a drop in net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005. CharterMac earned net income for that period of $6.1 million, or 8 cents per share, down 69.2% from $19.8 million, or 34 cents a share earned in the year-earlier quarter. The company attributed the decline to a one-time non-cash charge for a subsidiary name change.
Forest City Enterprises, the AFT Index’s top percentage gainer, closed at 44.24 after climbing 6.31 points, or 16.64%, this session. With the signing of a 50-year partnership agreement with the Navy, Forest City formed a joint venture known as Midwest Family Housing to renovate military housing in the Chicago area. The Navy will own the land and Forest City will build, operate and manage the housing. Forest City also sold 35 acres of land, part of a 93-acre parcel in Indiana, to Village Brokers for $20.5 million.
Meanwhile, the bidding war for Town & Country Trust ended as a Morgan Stanley joint venture won its bid for shareholder approval with an offer of $40.20 per share. That represented a 19% premium to the joint venture’s original offer in December of $1.3 billion, or $33.90 per share. The deal is expected to close March 31. Town and Country fell by 0.55 points, or 1.34%, to close the session at 40.50, while one of its rejected suitors saw its shares rise. A group including Essex Property Trust had also competed for Town and Country’s hand, and when the dust cleared, Essex had gained 11.26 points, or 11.44%, ending at 109.66. Essex Property Trust was the top dollar gainer this month; Town and Country was the top dollar loser.
Apartment Finance Today Index
|Ticker Symbol||Company||Price 3/15/06||Price 2/13/06||Net Change||Percent Change||52-Week High||52-Week Low|
|AIV||Apartment Investment and Management Co. (AIMCO)||46.52||42.96||3.56||8.29%||46.52||34.93|
|AEC||Associated Estates Realty Corp.||11.35||10.25||1.10||10.73%||11.90||8.52|
|AVB||AvalonBay Communities, Inc.||107.29||99.01||8.28||8.36%||107.29||64.98|
|BNP||BNP Residential Properties, Inc.||17.13||16.90||0.23||1.36%||17.50||12.89|
|BRE||BRE Properties, Inc.||54.86||51.50||3.36||6.52%||55.60||34.61|
|CPT||Camden Property Trust||67.00||64.55||2.45||3.80%||67.45||45.65|
|CLP||Colonial Properties Trust||50.94||46.23||4.71||10.19%||50.94||35.55|
|ESS||Essex Property Trust, Inc.||109.66||98.40||11.26||11.44%||109.66||68.50|
|FCEa||Forest City Enterprises, Inc.||44.24||37.93||6.31||16.64%||44.24||30.60|
|GE||General Electric, Inc. (GE Real Estate)||34.42||33.25||1.17||3.52%||37.34||32.21|
|HME||Home Properties, Inc.||51.49||48.67||2.82||5.79%||51.49||35.36|
|MAA||Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc.||57.77||52.30||5.47||10.46%||57.77||35.62|
|PPS||Post Properties, Inc.||45.54||42.83||2.71||6.33%||45.54||30.13|
|TCT||Town & Country Trust||40.50||41.05||-0.55||-1.34%||41.38||25.00|
|UDR||United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc.||28.08||25.02||3.06||12.23%||27.70||20.55|
|Note: Amli Residential Properties Trust (AML) was purchased by Morgan Stanley's Prime Property Fund on Feb. 7, 2006, and removed from the index. Criimi Mae (CMM) was purchased by CDP Capital on Jan. 18, 2006, and removed from the index.|
|Apartment Finance Today Index||1234.32||1200.11||34.21||2.85%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||11209.77||10892.32||317.45||2.91%|
|S&P 500 Index||1303.02||1262.86||40.16||3.18%|
|Source: Trade Trends, Inc.|