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
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
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
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
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
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.
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