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5 Heavily Shorted REITs That Could Pop

Boston Properties

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It's been a strong year for Boston Properties (BXP). In 2011, this $14 billion office REIT has rallied more than 10%, besting the broad market by double digits year-to-date. The firm owns approximately 40 million square feet of leasable space in 146 properties, the majority of which are offices (BXP also owns several retail and residential buildings, as well as a hotel).

Short-sellers have made big bets against BXP, bringing the firm's short interest ratio up to 10.5.

Boston Properties has had considerable exposure to real estate prices in the last few years, but that's come from a string of acquisitions that the firm has picked up at comparatively low prices. Boston Properties has also been developing new properties, building out more than 2 million square feet of leasable office space at present. A significant liquidity cushion on BXP's balance sheet should keep top line growth moving at a healthy pace.

With a 2.1% dividend yield, BXP's payout to shareholders is on the lower end of the scale, which should make short-sellers somewhat less willing to hold out for a major drop in this REIT. On the flip side of that coin, a boosted dividend payout could send shorts scrambling to exit their positions. BXP is a name to watch in 2012.

On the long side of Boston Properties is Ken Heebner; the stock comprises 1.9% of Capital Growth Management's portfolio as of the most recently reported period.

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