Shares of Simon Property Group, Inc. ( SPG ) reached a 52-week high of $170.34 during the trading session on Friday, Jun 6, 2014, thanks to increased investors' expectation following the company's move to expand its Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers network in the U.S. Also, the stock benefitted from the Washington Prime Group spin-off completion and solid first-quarter 2014 results.
The closing price of $169.68 of this retail real estate investment trust (REIT) represents a robust year-to-date return of 20.4%. The average trading volume for the session was over 1.5 million shares.
Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has plenty of upside left, given the improving retail market fundamentals, healthy operating portfolio performance and expected long-term growth of 7.06%.
Last week, carrying on with its initiative of installing EV charging stations, Simon Property in collaboration with NRG eVgo of NRG Energy, Inc. ( NRG ) disclosed the set-up of Freedom Station sites at 4 shopping centers in Orange County. The move was particularly aimed at catering to the increasing network of these chargers in the southern California region. Also, the inclusion of the EV chargers at its famous properties in Orange County will escalate footfall at these shopping centers.
In addition, the recent accomplishment of the spin off of Washington Prime Group is expected to boost the overall portfolio base of Simon Property. The company can now increase utilization of resources for expanding its global portfolio of larger malls, mills and premium outlets and effectively leverage on improving spending habits of wealthier customers with the economy showing signs of recovery.
Moreover, on Apr 22, riding on the growth trajectory, Simon Property came up with the announcement of a solid operating performance for first-quarter 2014, with funds from operations (FFO) of $2.38 per share, 6.25% ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 16.1% above the year-ago quarter figure, primarily driven by an increase in revenues and occupancy rate. Also, the hike in its quarterly dividend increased investors' confidence.
Over the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 FFO per share increased by 0.5% to $9.17. However, for 2015, it dipped by 1.7% to $10.06.
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Note: Funds from operations, a widely accepted and reported measure of REITs performance, are derived by adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.