Stifel Financial ( SF) pushed the Financial Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1.2%. By the end of trading, Stifel Financial rose 82 cents (2.7%) to $31.43 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 968,594 shares of Stifel Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 473,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $30.57-$31.98 after having opened the day at $30.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $30.61. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were: Kent Financial Services Inc ( KENT), up 17.2%, Community Bankers Trust Corporation ( BTC), up 10.9%, Global Cash Access Holdings Inc ( GCA), up 8.4%, and Paulson Capital ( PLCC), up 7%.

Stifel Financial Corp., a financial holding company, operates as a retail and institutional brokerage, and investment banking company in the United States and internationally. Stifel Financial has a market cap of $1.7 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 18, above the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 17.9 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 26% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Stifel Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

On the negative front, Ameritrans Capital Corporation ( AMTC), down 34.2%, Cash Store Financial Services Inc ( CSFS), down 15.7%, Stream Global Services Inc ( SGS), down 14.9%, and SGOCO Group ( SGOC), down 14.8%, were all losers within the financial services industry with Morgan Stanley ( MS) being today's financial services industry loser.

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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