The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apartment Investment and Management, AvalonBay Communities, Vornado Realty Trust and DDR

   The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apartment Investment and Management,
             AvalonBay Communities, Vornado Realty Trust and DDR

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2013

CHICAGO, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Apartment Investment and
Management Company (NYSE:AIV), AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE:AVB), Vornado
Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) and DDR Corp. (NYSE:DDR).


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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Dividend Hike at AIMCO

Apartment Investment and Management Company (NYSE:AIV) – a real estate
investment trust (REIT) better known as Aimco – announced a 20% sequential
hike in its quarterly cash dividend rate. The company will now pay a dividend
of 24 cents per share of Class A Common Stock compared with 20 cents paid in
the prior quarter. The increased dividend will be paid on Feb 28, 2013 to
stockholders of record on Feb 15.

This represents the third dividend raise at Aimco since Jan 2012. Moreover, on
an annualized basis, it reflects an increase of 26% compared with dividends
paid during 2012. Undoubtedly, a steady dividend payout facilitates the
long-term strategy of Aimco to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to its

Moreover, the dividend hike reflects solid performance and meticulous
execution of strategic plans at Aimco, which is one of the largest owners and
operators of multifamily apartments in the U.S. Notably, the company is
currently repositioning its portfolio to focus on markets that have better job
and rent growth prospects. Such strategic moves will prove accretive to its
earnings going forward.

Therefore, with strong quarterly results, we believe that the company is well
poised to maintain its growth curve and simultaneously benefit the
shareholders with steadily rising dividends and hence we remain encouraged.

As a matter of fact, solid dividend payouts are arguably the biggest
attraction for REIT investors as the U.S. law requires these companies to
distribute 90% of their annual taxable income in the form of dividends to the

In addition to Aimco, a number of REIT firms have increased their dividend
payouts in recent times. This includes AvalonBay Communities Inc. (NYSE:AVB),
which hiked its quarterly dividend by 10.3% to $1.07 per share earlier this
week. Moreover, Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) increased its quarterly
dividend by 5.8% to 73 cents while DDR Corp. (NYSE:DDR) raised its quarterly
dividend by about 12.5% to 13.5 cents this month.

Aimco is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter 2012 results on Feb 7. The
Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company's fourth-quarter FFO (funds from
operations) is currently pegged at 50 cents per share. Aimco currently carries
a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Note: Fund from operations, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of
REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other
non-cash expenses to net income.

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