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Outside the Box: High-priced REIT shares are creating problems for index funds

Consider these investment questions: If you own shares of all the stocks in a particular sector or industry, do you want to see all the underlying companies flourish? Or do you want to have a perpetual state of some killing off others — to the ultimate benefit of consumers?

And if you have so many assets that you own large percentages of all the companies’ shares in a sector or industry, do you necessarily support the stock prices of weaker players who would otherwise be forced to improve or exit the market?

These are compelling questions veteran Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Joseph DiStefano raised recently in an excellent article about mutual-fund giant Vanguard Group’s increasing domination of the publicly traded REIT market.

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