Simon Property shares rise on better-than-expected earnings report

Shopping center giant Simon Property Group Inc. on Friday reported a strong first quarter that exceeded analyst predictions.

Shares in the Indianapolis-based real estate investment trust were up 4.3 percent in late-morning trading Friday, to $156.56 each.

Simon reported a quarterly profit of $620 million, or $2 per share, up from $477 million, or $1.53 per share, in the same quarter of 2017. The company said some of the gains came from selling off properties for $135.3 million, or 38 cents per share.

Simon reported funds from operations of $1.03 billion, or $2.87 per share, in the period. Funds from operations, or FFO, is a closely watched measure in the REIT industry. It takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization.

The FFO results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for FFO of $2.83 per share.

Simon posted revenue of $1.4 billion in the period, which also topped Wall Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected revenue of $1.38 billion. Simon reported revenue of $1.35 billion in last year’s first quarter.

Simon increased its full-year FFO guidance to a range of $11.95 to $12.05 per share.

Additionally, Simon reported:
—    Retailer sales per square foot for the previous year ended March 31 of $641, an increase of 4.2 percent;
—    Occupancy of 94.6 percent as of at March 31;
—    Base minimum rent per square foot of $53.54 as of March 31, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to the prior year period.

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