All three major indices traded up today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading up 56 points (0.3%) at 17,533 as of Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,658 issues advancing vs. 1,301 declining with 196 unchanged.

The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.3%. Top gainers within the Insurance industry included

Unico American

(

UNAM

), up 6.8%,

Kingstone Companies

(

KINS

), up 3.7%,

Kingsway Financial Services

(

KFS

), up 1.7%,

Hallmark Financial Services

(

HALL

), up 4.4% and

Imperial Holdings

(

IFT

), up 1.6%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

Hallmark Financial Services

(

HALL

) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Hallmark Financial Services was up $0.50 (4.4%) to $11.79 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 63,346 shares of Hallmark Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 25,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $11.34-$11.87 after having opened the day at $11.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.29.

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc., an insurance holding company, markets, distributes, underwrites, and services property/casualty insurance products to businesses and individuals in the United States. The company operates in the Standard Commercial, Specialty Commercial, and Personal segments. Hallmark Financial Services has a market cap of $204.2 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Hallmark Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates

Hallmark Financial Services

as a

buy

TheStreet Recommends

. 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on HALL go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although HALL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.22 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES increased its bottom line by earning $0.69 versus $0.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.03 versus $0.69).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 286.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.65 million to $6.38 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Hallmark Financial Services Ratings Report

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At the close,

Kingsway Financial Services

(

KFS

) was up $0.09 (1.7%) to $5.44 on light volume. Throughout the day, 7,435 shares of Kingsway Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $5.33-$5.47 after having opened the day at $5.38 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $5.35.

Kingsway Financial Services Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides property and casualty insurance products in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Insurance Underwriting and Insurance Services. Kingsway Financial Services has a market cap of $106.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 3.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Kingsway Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Kingsway Financial Services as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KFS go as follows:

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 138.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$4.92 million to $1.90 million.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • KFS's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further.
  • The share price of KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC has not done very well: it is down 21.57% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The gross profit margin for KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC is rather low; currently it is at 20.69%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 4.84% trails that of the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Kingsway Financial Services Ratings Report

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Kingstone Companies

(

KINS

) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry higher today. Kingstone Companies was up $0.30 (3.7%) to $8.47 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 44,060 shares of Kingstone Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $8.03-$8.50 after having opened the day at $8.12 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.17.

Kingstone Companies, Inc., through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company, underwrites property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York. Kingstone Companies has a market cap of $59.0 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 0.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Kingstone Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Kingstone Companies

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KINS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 12.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 44.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • KINS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • KINGSTONE COS INC has improved earnings per share by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KINGSTONE COS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.72 versus $0.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.90 versus $0.72).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 16.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.33 million to $0.38 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Kingstone Companies Ratings Report

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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.