Allstate

(

ALL

) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial loser. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Allstate fell 34 cents (-1%) to $34.06 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3.1 million shares of Allstate exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.7 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $33.76-$34.47 after having opened the day at $34 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.40. Other company's within the Financial sector that declined today were:

Colony Bankcorp

(

CBAN

), down 16%,

Monarch Community Bancorp

(

MCBF

), down 10.4%,

Penson Worldwide

(

PNSN

), down 10%, and

Direct Markets Holdings

(

MKTS

), down 9.8%.

The Allstate Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the personal property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and retirement and investment products business primarily in the United States. Allstate has a market cap of $16.63 billion and is part of the

insurance

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.5, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 20.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Allstate a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Allstate 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, attractive valuation levels, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the positive front,

Severn Bancorp

(

SVBI

), up 16.6%,

BankAtlantic Bancorp

(

BBX

), up 15.1%,

Paulson Capital

(

PLCC

), up 13.5%, and

Green Bankshares

(

GRNB

), up 13.4%, were all gainers within the financial sector with

SunTrust Banks

(

STI

) being today's featured financial sector winner.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial sector could consider

Financial Select Sector SPDR

(

XLF

) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider

Proshares Short Financials

(

SEF

).

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