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COPT STOCK MOVES UPON DIVIDEND CUT

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COPT STOCK MOVES UPON DIVIDEND CUT
COPT STOCK MOVES UPON DIVIDEND CUT
This morning on a conference call, COPT prez Roger Waesche and COO Steve Budorick announced that their REIT is cutting its annual dividend $0.27, or 33%, to $1.10 per share. That could be deemed negative news, but KBW REIT analyst Shelia McGrath  told us afterward that the step removes uncertainty and the stock is actually up today. She adds that the REIT is decisively handing the factors under its control like cutting the dividend and selling non-core assets. The mid-8% cap rate its expecting on the $562M  of properties it intends to sell by the end of 2013 is realistic, and thus COPT should have no problem finding buyers. Roger and Steve made the case that leasing demand from DoD tenants is more predictable since the National Defense Authorization Act and defense budget passed in December, but Sheila says investors won't count leasing velocity in the "Things COPT Controls" column until leases are signed.