Washington Federal ( WFSL) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.5%. By the end of trading, Washington Federal rose 12 cents (0.9%) to $13.07 on average volume. Throughout the day, 792,799 shares of Washington Federal exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 742,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $12.98-$13.37 after having opened the day at $13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.95. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: First Financial Service Corporation ( FFKY), up 45%, Bank of the Carolinas ( BCAR), up 41.2%, Atlantic Coast Financial ( ACFC), up 22.5%, and Berkshire Bancorp ( BERK), up 14.2%.

Washington Federal, Inc. operates as the holding company for Washington Federal, which provides various financial services in the United States. Washington Federal has a market cap of $1.41 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.1, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 23.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Washington Federal a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Washington Federal as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), down 23.4%, Northern States Financial ( NSFC), down 19.6%, Primus Guaranty ( PRS), down 19.4%, and Grubb & Ellis Company ( GBE), down 15.2%, were all losers within the financial sector with Morgan Stanley ( MS) being today's financial sector loser.

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 ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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