The Hottest Small-Cap Financial Plays this Year (So Far)

Jacob Harper |

The year might be young, but a few small-cap financial plays have already started out with a bang. Among the leaders, it's a pretty diverse set: some REITs, some financing companies, even a South American real estate holding company. Here’s a closer look at five of the best performers on the market to start off the year:

GAIN Capital Holdings (GCAP)

Market Cap: $316.99 million

Price: $8.84

P/E Ratio: 15.16

YTD Performance: +17.04 percent

GAIN is an investment brokerage that operates strictly online. This New Jersey-headquartered company caters to retail investors and offers a platform for average investors to speculate on foreign currencies.

Alto Palerma S.A. (APSA)

Market Cap: $711.45 million

Price: $22.70

P/E Ratio: 19.14

YTD Performance: +7.22 percent

This Argentinean real estate company builds shipping malls in South America. This play has shown momentum the last three months, gaining almost 19 percent since October. 

Hatteras Financial Trust (HTS)

Market Cap: $1.70 billion

Price: $17.58

P/E Ratio: N/A

YTD Performance: +6.06 percent

This REIT (real estate investment trust) calls Winston-Salem, N.C. home, and serves as an opportunity for investors to speculate on “pass-through” securities issued or guaranteed by the US government. Hatteras was recently upgraded to “neutral” by Zacks.

Marlin Business Services (MRLN)

Market Cap: $328.75 million

Price: $26.81

P/E Ratio: 20.83

YTD Performance: +4.96 percent

This company finances equipment out for use by small businesses. Marlin also happens to be included in the Equities.com research project Small-Cap Stars, where it has been given a three out of a maximum five stars, indicating a play with stronger than average fundamentals.

PennyMac Mortgage Trust (PMT)

Market Cap: $1.42 billion

Price: $23.97

P/E Ratio: 7.14

YTD Performance: +4.49 percent

Another REIT, PennyMac seeks to maximize returns for investors by deriving as much value as possible from distressed home loans. PennyMac has been rebounding from a rough early 2013, gaining over 20 percent since the middle of last year.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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