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Progressive Corp (PGR): Today's Featured Insurance 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.

Progressive ( PGR) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Progressive rose $0.73 (3.0%) to $24.98 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 9,373,621 shares of Progressive exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,707,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.12-$25.01 after having opened the day at $24.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.25. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Employers Holdings ( EIG), up 10.8%, AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI), up 8.4%, Maiden Holdings ( MHLD), up 5.5% and Triple-S Management ( GTS), up 3.9%.

The Progressive Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides personal and commercial automobile insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance products and related services primarily in the United States. Progressive has a market cap of $14.3 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 11.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Progressive a buy, 6 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Progressive as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, AMERISAFE ( AMSF), down 4.5%, American Equity Investment Life ( AEL), down 4.1%, PICO Holdings ( PICO), down 3.0% and Citizens ( CIA), down 2.7% , were all laggards within the insurance industry with CNO Financial Group ( CNO) being today's insurance industry laggard.

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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