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General Growth shares rise in Big Board return

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of General Growth Properties <GGP.N> rose on Friday, their first day back on the New York Stock Exchange, even as the U.S. mall owner operates under bankruptcy protection.

Shares of the real estate investment trust were up 2.3 percent to $14 in late morning trade. The shares had hit a high of $14.40 earlier in the session.

The shares have not yet returned to the S&P 500 index or the benchmark MSCI U.S. REIT Index <.RMZ>, which was up 1.3percent.

Although rare, General Growth is not alone as having its shares trade on the Big Board while operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A representative of the exchange did not know how many of the approximately 2,425 companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange were in chapter 11.

But there are a handful of companies, such as W.R. Grace that have continued to trade on the Big Board after filing for bankruptcy. However, unlike those companies, General Growth had been delisted after its April filing and has now returned.

To be listed on the Big Board, a company has to reach certain parameters, such as valuation.

By market cap value, General Growth is over $4 billion, making it the 15th-largest publicly traded REIT. Before General Growth's re-entry, 128 REITs traded on the NYSE, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.

About half of General Growth's shares are owned by hedge fund manager William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management and by Chairman John Bucksbaum and his family or family's trust.

Among the institutional owners are Morgan Stanley <MS.N>, Fidelity Management & Research and Norges Bank, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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