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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


Blackstone Group



) pushed the Financial Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Blackstone Group rose 19 cents (1.4%) to $13.72 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.8 million shares of Blackstone Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $13.45-$13.74 after having opened the day at $13.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.53. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were:

Direct Markets Holdings



), up 24.9%,

Penson Worldwide



), up 4.8%,

First Marblehead Corporation


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TheStreet Recommends


), up 3.5%, and




), up 2%.

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The Blackstone Group L.P., together with its subsidiaries, provides alternative asset management and financial advisory services worldwide. It operates in five segments: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions, Credit Businesses, and Financial Advisory. Blackstone Group has a market cap of $7.02 billion and is part of the


sector. Shares are down 3.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Blackstone Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Blackstone Group as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front,

US Global Investors



), down 6%,

BGC Partners



), down 4.8%,

Federal Agricultural Mortgage



), down 4.7%, and

Newtek Business Services



), down 4.4%, were all laggards within the financial services industry with

Charles Schwab



) 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



) while those bearish on the financial services industry could consider

Proshares Short Financials