Allstate

(

ALL

) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance leader. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1%. By the end of trading, Allstate rose 49 cents (1.4%) to $34.72 on average volume. Throughout the day, 5.6 million shares of Allstate exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.9 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $34.11-$34.89 after having opened the day at $34.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.23. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were:

Assured Guaranty

(

AGO

), up 3.7%,

Platinum Underwriters Holdings

(

PTP

), up 2.3%,

China Life Insurance

(

LFC

), up 1.9%, and

Aviva

(

AV

), up 1.6%.

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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 $16.68 billion and is part of the

financial

sector. 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 24.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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 negative front,

Hanover Insurance Group

(

THG

), down 8.3%,

MGIC Investment Corporation

(

MTG

), down 7.8%,

First Acceptance Corporation

(

FAC

), down 7.3%, and

Phoenix Companies

(

PNX

), down 5.8%, were all laggards within the insurance industry with

ACE

(

ACE

) 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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