UPDATE 2-General Growth 3rd quarter in line; raises outlook

Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:55pm EDT
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* Third-quarter FFO 23 cents matches Wall St view

* Tenant sales rise 8.2 pct

* Company raises full-year forecast

By Ilaina Jonas

Oct 31 (Reuters) - General Growth Properties Inc, the No. 2 U.S. mall owner, said a key third-quarter earnings measure met Wall Street's forecast on higher occupancy, rent, and sales at its tenants' stores, and raised its forecast for the year.

Improving retail sales and consumer confidence have been good news for mall owners, including Simon Property Group Inc and Macerich Co, which have seen stronger sales at their tenants' stores in the third quarter. Stronger sales usually translate into higher rents.

General Growth on Wednesday posted third-quarter funds from operations of $231.3 million, or 23 cents per share, up from $212.6 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago.

That result matched the 23 cents per share that analysts, on average, had forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Funds from operations, a performance measure used by real estate investment trusts, removes the effect of depreciation on earnings.   Continued...