BlackRock

(

BLK

) pushed the Financial Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.4%. By the end of trading, BlackRock rose $5.67 (3.4%) to $170.67 on light volume. Throughout the day, 630,562 shares of BlackRock exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $165.69-$171.54 after having opened the day at $165.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $165. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were:

SWS Group

(

SWS

), up 8.4%,

Community Bankers Trust Corporation

(

BTC

), up 8%,

Raymond James Financial

(

RJF

), up 7.3%, and

Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. Shs -A- Non-Voti

(

OPY

), up 7.2%.

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BlackRock, Inc. is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm primarily provides its services to institutional, intermediary, and individual investors. BlackRock has a market cap of $29.46 billion and is part of the

financial

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.9, below the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 13.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 7.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate BlackRock a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BlackRock as a

buy

. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front,

Direct Markets Holdings

(

MKTS

), down 9.9%,

Millennium India Acquisition Corporation

(

SMCG

), down 9.4%,

BGC Partners

(

BGCP

), down 3.5%, and

Credit Suisse

(

DSLV

), down 2.9%, were all laggards within the financial services industry with

Principal Financial Group

(

PFG

) being today's financial services industry laggard.

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

Financial Select Sector SPDR

(

XLF

) while those bearish on the financial services industry could consider

Proshares Short Financials

(

SEF

).

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