WASHINGTON - REIT earnings grew strongly in the fourth quarter, though a bit more slowly than in the third, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Per-share earnings of the 111 REITs and publicly traded real estate companies were up 8.7% from a year earlier. The third-quarter figure was 10.2%.

Eighty percent of the companies tracked by analysts met or exceeded consensus earnings expectations in the fourth quarter, the association said - 46% exceeding them, 34% meeting them.

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