BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates low for a longer period confirms its commitment to safeguard the economy.

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, thrive when interest rates are low because their borrowing costs remain cheap. REITs are required to distribute the vast majority of their income to shareholders, so they offer ample quarterly distributions and lofty yields. Some forecasters expect a near-zero federal funds rate until 2012, making REITs attractive investments. Here are 10 top-ranked high-yield REITs.

10. Simon Property Group ( SPG) owns retail properties, including shopping malls. Simon swung to a second-quarter profit of $152 million, or 52 cents a share, from a year-earlier loss. Revenue grew 3.9%. The operating margin extended from 25% to 45%. Simon's stock trades at a forward earnings multiple of 38, a 35% discount to the REIT industry average. It's expensive based on book value and sales per share. Two thirds of analysts rate the stock "buy."

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