PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT) earned $7.6 million in the first quarter, or 35 cents per share, up from $1.3 million in earnings one year ago. And for now, PennyMac's plans for a new securitization offering appears on hold. The real estate investment trust, or REIT, invested $243 million in nonperforming mortgage whole loans and real-estate owned properties, or REO, during the quarter. The value of its portfolio of mortgage loans stood at $592 million at the end of the first quarter, up from $119 million in the fourth quarter. Its portfolio of mortgage securities, however fell to $102 million from $119 million over the same time period. PennyMac CEO Stanford Kurland said extreme weather conditions during the winter pushed sales down early in the first quarter, but by March, activity returned. "This activity, along with our healthy pipeline of nonperforming loans at the end of the quarter, makes us believe PMT is well positioned as we look forward," Kurland said. PennyMac ended the quarter with a purchase of whole loans valued at $31 million and since made two more purchases valued at $134 million. After increasing the capacity of one of its existing credit facilities, PennyMac said it can finance up to $350 million in nonperforming whole loans and REO investments. It has utilized $217 million of this capacity to date. The REIT said in November it was planning its own mortgage-backed securities offering for 2011, but no update was given. "We continued to identify attractive investment opportunities in the quarter, capitalizing on persisting market dislocations in the non-agency residential mortgage market," Kurland said. "As a result, we were able to put to work the proceeds from our recent equity offering and increased credit capacity almost immediately with purchases in three whole loan transactions. The results of these acquisitions should positively contribute to returns as we hold them for a full quarter and as the loans proceed to liquidation." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.