The HW 30, the composite index of the top 30 firms that drive the U.S. housing economy show Redwood Trust (RWT) and Ellie Mae (ELLI) as the biggest gainers of the day on Thursday.

Ellie Mae rose more than 13%, while Redwood increased more than 11%. The index rose by 5 points, or half of a percent, in Thursday's trading. Year to date, the HW 30 has risen nearly 24 percent.

According to Seeking Alpha, Ellie Mae is considering a possible sale and may start soliciting bids in "the next two months."

Redwood is riding the wave of positive analyst reports after blasting consensus for its second-quarter earnings.

Yesterday, the real estate investment trust announced a reported net income for the second quarter of 2013 of $66 million, or $0.71 per fully diluted share. This compares to net income of $61 million, or $0.69 per fully diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013, and net income of $20 million, or $0.24 per fully diluted share, for the second quarter of 2012.

According to Bloomberg, FBR Capital said Redwood management did a “solid job of directing the business in a tough environment” and sees “significant upside to both earnings, dividends in years to come."