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Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model


AvalonBay Communities



) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, AvalonBay Communities rose $1.75 (1.2%) to $143.30 on average volume. Throughout the day, 846,570 shares of AvalonBay Communities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 628,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $140.73-$143.57 after having opened the day at $141.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $141.55. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were:

Penson Worldwide



), up 33.2%,

Anchor Bancorp



), up 15.3%,

Millennium India Acquisition Corporation



), up 11.1%, and

Stewardship Financial Corporation



), up 10.6%.

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AvalonBay Communities, Inc. engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. AvalonBay Communities has a market cap of $13.51 billion and is part of the

real estate

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 61.3, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 22.3 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate AvalonBay Communities a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AvalonBay Communities as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front,

Atlantic Coast Financial



), down 8.5%,

Vestin Realty Mortgage II



), down 8.3%,

Credit Suisse



), down 7.8%, and

Direct Markets Holdings



), down 7.4%, were all laggards within the financial sector with

Health Care REIT



) being today's financial sector laggard.

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



) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider

Proshares Short Financials