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5 Heavily Shorted REITs That Could Pop

Regency Centers

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Regency Centers (REG) is a trust that owns and manages 215 neighborhood shopping centers spread throughout 28 states and co-owns another 181 shopping centers with partners. In total, Regency lays claim to 45 million square feet of leasable space.

At present, Regency's short interest ratio weighs in at 10.3; that means that it would take short sellers more than two weeks to cover their positions at current volume levels.

Because Regency anchors 80% of its shopping centers with grocery stores, there's an organic draw for consumers to visit stores -- and the trust can market its properties better than management firms that don't draw the same crowds. Demographics are also important for Regency: because the firm locates its properties in relatively affluent middle class locations, the firm has been benefitting from positive spending trends now that much of consumers' anxiety about the economy has settled.

While some of Regency's tenants were forced to close their doors in the wake of the financial crisis, its occupancy rate has been ticking back toward its 95% peak in recent quarters. At its current rate, REG should be able to return to prerecession levels in the next couple of years.

A manageable debt load and nearly 5% dividend yield should keep investors interested in this name in the near-term.

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