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Real Estate Funds Rally on Bullish Signals

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TheStreet) -- Real estate funds rallied this week as new-homes sales jumped 11% in June. Existing-home sales rose 3.6%.

For the week ending July 30, the average real estate fund we track gained 3.5%, excluding inverse funds that sell short property stocks.

Competing measurements of housing prices point to a bullish sentiment. The S&P Case-Shiller Index, which reviews prices in 20 metropolitan areas, bottomed out, and the more sensitive Radar Logic RPX Monthly Housing Market Report showed a clear reversal in direction with a two-month increase of 4.8% in the price paid per square foot since late March.

With mortgage applications on the rise and June's median price of existing homes climbing 10.3% since January, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described the real estate recession as "moderating."

The best-performing fund, Direxion Daily Real Estate Bull 3X Shares (DRN), is brand new. It popped 14% in the five trading days under review. The fund is 300% leveraged to the daily performance of the MSCI US REIT Index.

The fund's initial REIT weightings are 29% specialized, 25% retail, 17% office, 15% residential, 9% diversified and 5% industrial. Top-performing real estate investment trusts in the index include FelCor Lodging Trust (FCH), up 14%; Kilroy Realty (KRC), up 13%; CBL & Associates Properties (CBL), up 11%; and SL Green Realty (SLG) up 10%.

The second-best-performing fund is a closed-end fund named DWS RREEF Real Estate Fund (SRQ). One of its 10 largest holdings, Equity Residential (EQR) jumped 9.8% in one week. The company, which owns more apartment buildings than any other tradable REIT, reported second-quarter funds from operations of 58 cents a share, beating estimates.

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