The majority of real estate investment trusts bested third-quarter earnings projections when releasing financial results this past week, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods said Wednesday. Still, KBW says REITs remain cautious when projecting earnings for the 2012 fiscal year because of lingering concerns over the global economy. KBW studied data on 56 different investment trusts and found 32 beat the average third-quarter earnings projections. Fifteen others posted earnings in line with the average estimate, while nine posted earnings below consensus views. Still, KBW said annual earnings estimates for fiscal 2012 are down slightly due to asset sales. In addition, capital raises, the extension of debt terms and worries about the overall economy prompted REITs to forecast their 2012 fiscal year earnings modestly. In the office REIT segment, seven companies beat the average analyst earnings projection by at least 4% for the third quarter. Meanwhile, the regional mall segment had four REITs outperform, beating analyst projections by at least 12%. In addition, 19 REITs revised their 2012 earnings projections upward, while 25 lowered their 2012 profit forecasts.

The investment bank reported in October that third-quarter earnings from REITs could suffer under the weight of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

Write to Kerri Panchuk.