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First Niagara Financial Group Inc (FNFG): Today's Featured Banking Winner

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG) pushed the Banking industry higher today making it today's featured banking winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, First Niagara Financial Group rose $0.14 (1.5%) to $10.06 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 5,991,135 shares of First Niagara Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,286,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $9.78-$10.08 after having opened the day at $9.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.91. Other companies within the Banking industry that increased today were: Bank Bradesco (BBDO), up 6.9%, Credit Suisse (DGAZ), up 6.7%, Hampton Roads Bankshares (HMPR), up 6.5% and Severn Bancorp (SVBI), up 6.4%.

First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for First Niagara Bank, N.A. that provides retail and commercial banking, and other financial services to individuals, families, and businesses. First Niagara Financial Group has a market cap of $3.5 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 25.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate First Niagara Financial Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates First Niagara Financial Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

On the negative front, Carver Bancorp (CARV), down 10.3%, Bank of the James Financial Group (BOTJ), down 8.8%, Porter Bancorp (PBIB), down 8.7% and First Capital Bancorp (FCVA), down 7.2% , were all laggards within the banking industry with U.S. Bancorp (USB) being today's banking industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the banking industry could consider KBW Bank ETF (KBE) while those bearish on the banking industry could consider ProShares Short KBW Regional Bankng (KRS).

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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