• Shares are open to be purchased by the general public.
  • A public company is one that is not privately owned and whose shares trade on a financial exchange, e.g., the NYSE or NASDAQ. A public company that qualifies as a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) has a special tax designation that precludes corporate taxes as long as at least 90% of the profits are distributed to it's investors annually. 95 percent of its income must be derived from dividends, interest, and property income. There are other aspects, but this is the gist. Many of the Sub-Prime mortgage companies that went belly-up, e.g., New Century, were REITS. That shouldn't, however, imply that REITS are necessarily potentially problematic.

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