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Moody's upgrades debt ratings for National Retail

NEW YORK (AP) -- Moody's Investors Service has upgraded its debt ratings on National Retail Properties Inc., citing the real estate investment trust's sound credit profile, healthy portfolio of properties and sustained growth.

The ratings firm also revised its outlook on the Orlando, Fla.-based company to stable from positive, saying it expects National Retail will maintain its solid operating performance and growth, as well as ample access to cash.

National Retail buys and operates retail properties that it then leases long-term to tenants, a strategy that has helped it maintain stable cash flow.

As of June 30, the REIT owned 1,838 investment properties in 47 states with a gross leasable area of about 20.2 million square feet and total book assets of $4.6 billion.

Among the ratings changes by Moody, the firm upgraded National Retail's senior unsecured debt one notch to "Baa1" from "Baa2." It also raised the rating for its senior unsecured debt shelf to "(P)Baa1" from "(P)Baa2," and its preferred stock rating to "Baa2" from "Baa3."

Roughly $2.3 billion of debt securities are affected by the ratings.

Shares of National Retail Properties ended trading Friday down 21 cents at $33.53. The stock is up 7 percent this year.