Time To Build A Reit Portfolio?

Real estate investment trusts, with their generous dividends, are supposed to offer protection against stock market declines. But REITs' high yields haven't been much comfort this year. Punished first by fears that a strong economy would spark a glut of new construction, real estate portfolios recovered a bit only to fall victim to global credit jitters this fall. The upshot: Even as the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is up 16.5% this year, REITs are down 16%. Mutual funds that invest in REITs are even worse off--down an average of 17%.

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