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Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial rose 30 cents (0.6%) to $48.65 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.7 million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $47.67-$49.13 after having opened the day at $48.92 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.35. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: China Life Insurance ( LFC), up 4.2%, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 3.3%, American International Group ( AIG), up 3.2%, and Assured Guaranty ( AGO), up 3.2%.

Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment management services in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential Financial has a market cap of $22.95 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.4, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Prudential Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prudential Financial as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its reasonable valuation levels, considering its current price compared to earnings, book value and other measures. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally poor debt management and disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, StanCorp Financial Group ( SFG), down 11%, National Security Group ( NSEC), down 4.5%, Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings ( FSR), down 4.5%, and Investors Title Company ( ITIC), down 2.7%, were all losers within the insurance industry with Unum Group ( UNM) being today's insurance industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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