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The APARTMENT FINANCE TODAY Index advanced again this month despite a weakened economy and more pressure on credit markets as our trading session ended May 12, 2008. AFT’s basket of stocks, along with other domestic real estate investment trusts (REITs), were the recipients of more than $1.23 billion in investments in the first quarter of 2008, according to a note from research firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW). “When U.S. REITs ran up a lot in ’07, they looked more expensive on a relative basis to other countries,” said Sheila McGrath, a senior vice president at KBW. “But after their slide, across the countries’ property stocks, domestics looked more favorably priced.” The AFT Index reflected that attitude, as the index rose 38.68 points, or 3.98 percent, and closed at 1011.12, the first time the index topped 1000 this year.
The major markets also posted a positive session as investors responded positively to another expected rate cut of a quarter point by the Fed at the end of April. The Dow industrials made it past the 13,000 mark on May 1, a level not seen since Jan. 3, though it has since retreated from that level. Although other economic news was generally downbeat, a slew of decent earnings reports buoyed Wall Street, despite the continuing increase in the price of oil and its contribution to inflationary pressures. As the session ended, oil dipped slightly and the dollar gained. “We’re the majority of the way through the earnings season and it has been relatively productive,” said Ted Oberhaus, director of equity trading at Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC.
Forest City Enterprises was at the top of the pack this session, as it rose $4.95, or 13.70 percent, making it the top dollar and percentage gainer. However, no news was released to account for its recent rise. Forest City closed at $41.07.
The next-highest dollar gainer was Mid-America, which reported results for the quarter ended March 31, 2008. Mid-America said that funds from operations for the first quarter were $26.9 million, or 96 cents per share, versus $24 million, or 87 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. The results for the quarter were in the mid-range of Mid- America’s forecast. Mid-America rose $4.56, or 8.92 percent, and ended at $55.66.
Centerline Holding slid this session after it reported first quarter results. The company reported a net loss of $21.6 million, or 76 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $147 million, or 27 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Centerline lost $1.10, or 27.78 percent, and was the top dollar and percentage loser. Shares closed at $2.86.
AFT Index Gainers and Losers
$ Gainer -- Forest City Enterprises, Inc. -- 4.95
$ Loser -- Centerline Holding Co. -- -1.10
% Gainer -- Forest City Enterprises, Inc. -- 13.70%
% Loser -- Centerline Holding Co. -- -27.78%