MFA Financial ( MFA) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.1%. By the end of trading, MFA Financial rose 12 cents (1.6%) to $7.61 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 8.2 million shares of MFA Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $7.45-$7.62 after having opened the day at $7.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.49. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Crescent Financial ( CRFN), up 31.9%, Patriot National Bancorp ( PNBK), up 16.3%, Alliance Bankshares ( ABVA), up 10.6%, and Manhattan Bridge Capital ( LOAN), up 9.8%. MFA Financial, Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT), invests in residential agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). MFA Financial has a market cap of $2.67 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.3, equal to the average real estate industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate MFA Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold. TheStreet Ratings rates MFA Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally poor debt management, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.