This Time It's Office REITs: Financial Loser

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Financial sector real estate investment trusts (REITs) continued to tumble, as Wall Street anticipates the Federal Reserve's withdrawal of support to stock and bond markets. This time, it was industrial and office REITs that fell the most, led by the over 6 % decline of Boston Properties ( BXP).

Boston Properties shares fell 6.45% in Thursday trading to $100.58, erasing the company's share price gains for 2013. Competitors Vornado ( VNO) and Prologis ( PLD) also fell sharply in Thursday trading, underperforming a 353 point rout of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 2.1% decline posted by the financial sector, according to Bloomberg data.

On Thursday, U.S. stock markets plunged the most in 19 months Thursday on fears that the Federal Reserve plans to reduce the bond-buying that has fueled equity markets for more than a year and kept mortgage rates at historic lows.

Major U.S. stock markets turned sharply lower on Wednesday as the Federal Open Market Committee voted to maintain its current policy of buying $85 billion per month by a vote of 10 in favor and 2 against but outlined criteria which will determine when the bank begins to reduce the size and scope of its bond buying program.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stopped short of issuing a timeline but said that as the economy shows signs of improving, the bank will consider cutting back on the bond-buying that has helped to drive stocks.

Some financial sector heavyweights haven't suffered as much as REITs as investors increasingly price in the withdrawal of Fed support to asset prices.

The financial sector generally outperformed sharp market losses on Thursday, with REITs generally standing out as a pocket of weakness.

The financial sector fell 2.16%, while the S&P 500 dropped 2.5% to close at 1,588.19 as homebuilder stocks posted the biggest percentage losses in the index.

Zions Bancshares ( ZION) led the financial sector with a near 2% gain to $27.46 a share, while People's United Bancorp ( PBCT), M&T Bank ( MTB) and Huntington Bancshares ( HBAN) also posted solid gains of less than 1%.

Money center commercial banks such as Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan ( JPMorgan) posted the biggest declines of the 18 banking stocks in the S&P 500. Shares in all three banks, the nation's largest, all fell in excess of 2%.

On Tuesday, as investors anticipated a more hawkish tone by the Federal Reserve and its chair Ben Bernanke, residential REITs underperformed broader markets and the financial sector as a whole.

Wednesday, as markets continued to plunge in the wake of Bernanke's comments at a 2 p.m ET press briefing, mortgage REIT American Capital Agency Corp. ( AGNC) underperformed broader markets.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York