I don't think we'll see rates increase after yesterday's mini crash! Rates will eventually have to rise in order to check the wild fire inflation built into Obama's stimulus programs....but not for awhile.
You could hedge your risk with RRPIX. During the Great Depression, knowledgeable investors made mints by buying puts on treasuries when interest rates began to rise. This is another way to profit. Not as profitable as puts, but worthwhile with patience.
This company was conceived to profit from securitization in the previous a higher rate environment. Plan A failed miserably, and they have since successfully converted to Plan B. They still have the size, strong parent, and skills needed to execute Plan A. In the future event that the Fed is raising rates to sop up liquidity that same liquidity may mean that leverage has become available for private label RMBS and Plan A would hopefully out of the attic and get dusted off. The Fed raising rates also implies that the economy has improved to the point that commercial lending has become both more in demand and more profitable, and CIM can do that too.
It's hard for me to imagine CIM's NIM ever getting much bigger than it is now, and yes higher rates will hurt from a pure unleveraged NIM perspective. I am just pointing out that, just like it's REMIC angle, CIM has several other tricks up it's sleeve that it can use when the economy heats up. Those other skills should more than offset the NIM compression.
All my points in CIM's favor notwithstanding, Mr. Market probably wont distinguish too finely amongst the mREITS during the selloff upon the FOMC's statement language change away from "extended period". I may be amongst the sellers trying to get out before the price drops too, but I think in CIM's case I would buy back in once I think the price has bottomed because I think a hot economy benefits CIM about as much as a a 0% FFR does. As long as the yield curve is forward sloping I expect CIM to remain highly profitable.