Brown & Brown Inc. (BRO): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

Brown & Brown ( BRO) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Brown & Brown rose 64 cents (2.4%) to $26.94 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1.5 million shares of Brown & Brown exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 879,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $26.19-$27 after having opened the day at $26.41 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.30. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: CNinsure ( CISG), up 32.5%, Hilltop Holdings ( HTH), up 22.5%, 21st Century Holding Company ( TCHC), up 10.6%, and Global Indemnity ( GBLI), up 6.8%.

Brown & Brown, Inc., a diversified insurance agency, engages in the marketing and sale of insurance products and services in the United States. Its Retail division provides insurance products and services to commercial, public and quasi-public entity, professional, and individual customers. Brown & Brown has a market cap of $3.79 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.6, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 23 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Brown & Brown a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Brown & Brown as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), down 6%, Phoenix Companies ( PNX), down 4.3%, Citizens ( CIA), down 4%, and Genworth Financial ( GNW), down 3.6%, were all losers within the insurance industry with MetLife ( MET) 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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