REITs that focus on outlet malls gained in the third quarter, leading to an overall rise in the sector of 5.6%. Stock of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, which owns 31 discount shopping centers, was up 22% in the three-month period ended Tuesday. "Outlet centers have proven to be defensive during this tough economy, despite higher gas prices and their out-of-the-way locations," said Ben Yang, an analyst for Green Street Advisors.

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