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Legg Mason Inc. (LM): Today's Featured Financial Services Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Legg Mason ( LM) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.1%. By the end of trading, Legg Mason fell 86 cents (-3.1%) to $26.79 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 3.4 million shares of Legg Mason exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $26.50-$27.68 after having opened the day at $27.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.65. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: AFP Provida ( PVD), down 4.9%, Marine Petroleum ( MARPS), down 3.8%, Manhattan Bridge Capital ( LOAN), down 2.6%, and Tile Shop Holdings ( TTS), down 2.4%.

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Legg Mason, Inc. provides asset management and related financial services to institutional and individual clients, company-sponsored mutual funds, and other pooled investment vehicles worldwide. Legg Mason has a market cap of $3.65 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 22, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are two analysts that rate Legg Mason a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Legg Mason as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the positive front, Gleacher ( GLCH), up 9%, Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), up 7.1%, Security National Financial Corporation ( SNFCA), up 6.1%, and Fortress Investment Group ( FIG), up 5.1%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with American Express ( AXP) being today's featured financial services industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial services industry could consider Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial services industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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