Principal Financial Group (PFG): Today's Featured Financial Loser

Principal Financial Group ( PFG) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial loser. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Principal Financial Group fell $1.50 (-5.1%) to $27.69 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 5.4 million shares of Principal Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $26.01-$28.49 after having opened the day at $26.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.19. Other company's within the Financial sector that declined today were: Central Federal ( CFBK), down 13.8%, Bluegreen Corporation ( BXG), down 12%, Siebert Financial Corporation ( SIEB), down 11.7%, and First M&F ( FMFC), down 10.2%.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. Principal Financial Group has a market cap of $8.64 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.4, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Principal Financial Group a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Principal Financial Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, CMS Bancorp ( CMSB), up 19%, MBT Financial Corporation ( MBTF), up 18.4%, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 14.3%, and Crescent Financial ( CRFN), up 13.2%, were all gainers within the financial sector with Regions Financial Corporation ( RF) being today's featured financial sector winner.

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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