LPL Investment Holdings Inc. (LPLA): Today's Featured Financial Winner

LPL Investment Holdings ( LPLA) 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, LPL Investment Holdings rose 22 cents (0.7%) to $33.20 on light volume. Throughout the day, 373,660 shares of LPL Investment Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 548,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $32.93-$33.70 after having opened the day at $33.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.98. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Paulson Capital ( PLCC), up 13.5%, Crescent Financial ( CRFN), up 13.5%, Penson Worldwide ( PNSN), up 12.1%, and Credit Suisse ( DGAZ), up 12%.

LPL Investment Holdings Inc. provides an integrated platform of brokerage and investment advisory services to independent financial advisors and financial advisors at financial institutions in the United States. LPL Investment Holdings has a market cap of $3.64 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.9, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are two analysts that rate LPL Investment Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates LPL Investment Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Cascade Bancorp ( CACB), down 22.4%, Colony Bankcorp ( CBAN), down 17.4%, Jacksonville Bancorp Inc (FL ( JAXB), down 17%, and Green Bankshares ( GRNB), down 13.4%, were all losers within the financial sector with BB&T ( BBT) 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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