REIT shares have popped in the past two weeks, primarily because flagging economic data have put the idea of multiple rate hikes into question. Steve Brown, portfolio manager of the American Century Real Estate Fund (REACX) - Get Report , said he expects this sentiment to last as the Federal Reserve stays cautious.
"The question is whether we are going to have another rate hike this year. Now that we are having that conversation, REITs have caught a bid," said Brown. "They've got good fundamentals and they are acting a lot better now and that should continue for the rest of the year."
The American Century Real Estate Fund is down 5% thus far in 2016, according to fund-tracker Morningstar. The $1.4 billion fund has returned 10% annually over the past five years, outpacing 87% of its peers.
Brown is bullish on Kimco Realty (KIM) - Get Report , up 1.6% year to date, saying the company is well positioned because it owns community shopping centers rather than struggling malls anchored by troubled department stores.
"They have good occupancies, limited new supply and good fundamental products for Americans, like grocery and home improvement stores," said Brown, adding that the "middle 80% of the country" will spend the benefits from lower gas prices at shopping centers like the ones owned by Kimco.
Brown said Store Capital (STOR) - Get Report , up 7% thus far in 2016, will continue to do well with its sale-leaseback model. He said the company is excellent at understanding credit and has tremendous underwriting skills.
"They have good growth, it's a good story and I think it will continue to work this year," said Brown.
Finally, Brown is a fan of Equinix, down 3.5% year to date. The data-center REIT currently yields 2.3%, compared to Kimco's 3.8% payout and Store Capital's 4.2% coupon. Nevertheless, Brown said the surge in cloud computing will mean heightened growth and capital appreciation, despite the lower yield.
"If you think putting things on the cloud is going to continue to grow, they are a prime beneficiary," said Brown.