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REIT: Another four-letter word or a golden opportunity?

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It's been a long time since any investor was excited about buying shares in real estate investment trusts (REITs). That's a vast difference from the early 2000s, when it was difficult to prevent investors from pouring much of their net worth into real estate in some form or another. Now, it's tough to get investors to allocate even a small percentage of funds to this asset class. Why has REIT become a four letter word? One reason is that REITs -- professionally managed portfolios of real estate holdings -- have had a great deal of negative press due to the high level of foreclosures and other distressed property sales. But the reality is that REITs are taking advantage of today's lower values in the real estate market and in 2010 are already showing strong returns.

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