Sun Life Financial ( SLF) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1.8%. By the end of trading, Sun Life Financial rose $1.26 (7%) to $19.30 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 3.2 million shares of Sun Life Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 885,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $17.71-$19.40 after having opened the day at $17.71 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.04. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), up 4.6%, National Security Group ( NSEC), up 2.6%, State Auto Financial ( STFC), up 1.9%, and Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 1.7%.

Sun Life Financial Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides various life and health insurance, savings, investment management, retirement, and pension products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial has a market cap of $10.41 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.8, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 13 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 40.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are three analysts that rate Sun Life Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sun Life Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Affirmative Insurance Holdings ( AFFM), down 19.1%, ING Groep N.V ( ING), down 8.7%, Aegon ( AEG), down 7.9%, and Aviva ( AV), down 7.1%, were all losers within the insurance industry with Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) being today's insurance industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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