No bid for mortgage REITS as yields rise

|By:, SA News Editor

There's no mercy for the mREIT sector (REM -1.6%) as this morning's strong economic data sends the 10-year Treasury yield five basis points higher to 2.80%. Among the new 52-week lows today are sector giants Annaly (NLY -1.6%) and American Capital Agency (AGNC -1.8%).

Also down sharply are Armour (ARR -2.4%), CYS Investments (CYS -2.4%), Dynex (DX -2.5%), American Capital Mortgage (MTGE -2.8%), AG Mortgage (MITT -2.4%), and Arlington Asset (AI -3.1%).

Management matters, and investors have clearly lost some faith in the leadership of Annaly and American Capital - both of which trade at more than 20% discounts to book value. The newest favorite is that of Ellington Financial (EFC), where management has mostly been able to preserve book value this year. Company structure may have helped too - Ellington is a partnership, not a REIT and has somewhat more flexibility with its portfolio. The stock trades at just a 6% discount to October 31 reported book.