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US REITs see decline in short interest in March 1st half

Short interest among U.S. REITs slipped 6 basis points on averageduring the first half of March, droppingto 3.28% of all outstanding shares from 3.33% at February-end.

Four sectors reported double-digit growth in average short interestduring the period from Feb. 29 to March 15, with diversified REITs leading the way,rising 24 basis points to 2.74% of shares shorted. Following closely were the healthcare and multifamily sectors, each with a 21-basis-point increase to 3.46% and 2.95%of shares shorted, respectively. Self-storage REITs, meanwhile, logged a 10-basis-pointgain to 2.16% of shares shorted.

The regional mall REIT sector experienced the largest declinein average short interest, with shorts plunging 120 basis points to finish with3.20% of outstanding shares held short during the period.

On a company basis, GovernmentProperties Income Trust logged the biggest short-interest gain duringthe month's first half, with shorts soaring 591 basis points to 16.19% of outstandingshares. The company also led the pack of most-shorted REITs during the period.

Rouse PropertiesInc. saw the biggest short-interest drop during the period, plummeting593 basis points in short bets to 3.60% of outstanding shares.

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