The SNL Equity REIT Index ended the first quarter at an all-time high as the real estate investment trust sector continued its strong performance, according to SNL Financial, a Charlottesville, Va.-based information provider.The index maintained by SNL posted a total return of 12.1% for the quarter, far outperforming the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000, which returned 1.3% and 2.2%, respectively, the company said. Of the various real estate sectors, retail REITs turned in the best performance, yielding an 18.9% return for the period, SNL said. Health care REITs were close behind, with a 17.2% return, and industrial REITs finished third, at 12.6%. Residential REITs returned only 4.6% on the quarter, SNL reported. The company can be found on the Web at http://www.snl.com.

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