Legg Mason Inc. (LM): Today's Featured Financial Services Winner

Legg Mason ( LM) pushed the Financial Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Legg Mason rose 27 cents (1.1%) to $23.95 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 2.8 million shares of Legg Mason exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $23.61-$24.29 after having opened the day at $23.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $23.68. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were: SGOCO Group ( SGOC), up 15.4%, Federal Agricultural Mortgage ( AGM), up 6.7%, SWS Group ( SWS), up 6.6%, and Nicholas Financial ( NICK), up 5.5%.

Legg Mason, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an asset management company worldwide. The company provides investment management and related services to institutional and individual clients; company-sponsored mutual funds; and other pooled investment vehicles. Legg Mason has a market cap of $3.37 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.7, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are five analysts that rate Legg Mason a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Legg Mason 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 good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Gleacher ( GLCH), down 10%, Penson Worldwide ( PNSN), down 9.7%, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), down 8.6%, and Community Bankers Trust Corporation ( BTC), down 4.5%, were all losers within the financial services industry with CME Group ( CME) 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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