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Wells Fargo



) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.5%. By the end of trading, Wells Fargo rose 37 cents (1.1%) to $34.14 on average volume. Throughout the day, 25.5 million shares of Wells Fargo exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 27.9 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $33.85-$34.38 after having opened the day at $33.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $33.78. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were:

Hampton Roads Bankshares



), up 23.1%,




), up 17.6%,

National Bank of Greece



), up 13.6%, and

First Financial Service Corporation



), up 12.5%.

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Wells Fargo & Company, through its subsidiaries, provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Community Banking; Wholesale Banking; and Wealth, Brokerage, and Retirement. Wells Fargo has a market cap of $176.21 billion and is part of the


industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.4, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 11 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 21 analysts that rate Wells Fargo a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Wells Fargo as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the negative front,

Porter Bancorp



), down 11.8%,

Carver Bancorp



), down 10.4%,

Direct Markets Holdings



), down 9.9%, and

Stratus Properties



), down 9.9%, were all laggards within the financial sector with

Legg Mason



) 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