05/08/2013 | by
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Retail REIT Macerich (NYSE: MAC) was added to the S&P 500 on May 8, making it the first REIT to be added to the benchmark index in four years.

Arthur Coppola, chairman and CEO of Macerich, said inclusion in the S&P 500 is as much of a positive reflection on the entire REIT industry as it is on his company.  

“This represents a growing recognition of the attractiveness of the REIT model and of REITs maturing in our industry and the fact that our industry has performed well in the broader markets and in all indices,” Coppola said in an interview with REIT.com.

Health care REIT Ventas (NYSE: VTR) was the last REIT added to the index, joining the S&P 500 in March 2009. Prior to that, Health Care REIT Inc. (NYSE: HCN) was added in January 2009.

Coppola reflected on the growing number of REITs now included in the index despite the four-year hiatus. The first REIT was added to the S&P 500  in 2001 with the inclusion of Equity Office Properties.

“Since then, about one REIT on average per year was added. It’s a positive sign for the industry to bring in another company now,” he said.

The addition of Macerich brings the total number of REITs now listed on the S&P 500 to 17. Macerich is the second retail REIT. Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) was added in 2002.

Coppola said the S&P inclusion means more exposure for the company to the investment community. 

“There are many investors that only want to invest in S&P 500 companies, so it just clearly broadens the appeal to the investment community,” he said. “It will most likely result in higher liquidity of the company in the stock market in terms of the volume of shares that will trade on any given day, which investors like to see.”

Shares of Macerich were up nearly four-tenths of a percent through mid-day trading on May 8 at $70.39.

Macerich had been a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index since 2005. The company replaced Coventry Health Care on the S&P 500 following Coventry’s acquisition by Aetna Inc.