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Simon Property Group's earnings rose 4.4 %

NEW YORK - Simon Property Group Inc., owner of several shopping malls in New Hampshire, said a key earnings measure rose 14.4 percent in the first quarter, helped by higher rents and sales at its malls and outlet centers, prompting the company to raise its forecast for the year.

Simon also ended its six-quarter streak of raising dividends. The company's holdings include the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, Fox Run Mall in Newington, Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem and the Premium Outlets in Merrimack.

Funds from operations (FFO) increased to $741.9 million, or $2.05 per share, from $648.7 million, or $1.82 per share, a year earlier, Simon, the largest U.S. owner of malls and shopping centers, said on Friday.

Analysts, on average, expected FFO of $2.01 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

FFO is a performance measure for real estate investment trusts that usually excludes gains or losses from property sales and removes the effect that depreciation has on earnings.

Simon raised its full-year FFO forecast, excluding one-time items, to a range of $8.50 to $8.60 per share from $8.40 to $8.50.

Analysts expect $8.59 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

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