Commercial REITs' Comet Ride

Includes: BEE, FCH
by: Underanalyzed Equities

Strategic Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:BEE) rose 22.37% yesterday after nearly 10x average buying. The stock has doubled since I picked-up coverage six months ago and demonstrates technicals suggesting that there's still upward mobility yet. After hours trading has taken the stock up another 1%.

Investing titan Ken Fisher and hedge fund value investor David Tepper each have a million shares a piece and at this price the activity could very well be their re-upping to strengthen their positions while commercial real estate is still in its economic malaise.

BEE was by no means the only commercial REIT besieged by investment dollars yesterday. Felcor Lodging Trust (NYSE:FCH) also saw shares appreciate 19.73%. John Paulson increased his position 250% last year to 5% of the stock outstanding and hedge fund investor Ken Heebner followed suit with 3% ownership as well.

The combination of billionaires Fisher and Paulson getting in while the commercial REIT market is in the doldrums suggests that there's confidence in these particular stocks if not the sector at large. On a day when the markets were down nearly all of the commercial REITS were up, suggesting that investors are bullish on prospect of commercial real estate appreciating in the next couple of years. That or the rebound of the market will spur people to plush hotels (the case of Strategic Hotels) or to do more business travel to Hiltons and Embassy Suites (for Felcor).

Those investors unsure about the prospect of the commons could investigate the rich amount of preferreds offered by both stocks. That being said, the preferreds have already seen a ten-bagger from their lows a year ago, but there's still some meat left on the bone for appreciation.

With eight-figure losses and suspended dividend payments, fallen angel REITS are a speculative play, but if you have time, it may be a wise choice for your IRA. Strategic has been successful in offloading their European properties and hope to be off the continent entirely soon. They also offloaded their Mexican property not too long ago. A ready market of buyers will provide some stability and gains that will smooth out the balance sheets of these moderately leveraged corporations such that dividends may again begin to flow and prices stabilize.

Disclosure: Author holds a long position in BEE