HCP Inc (HCP): Today's Featured Financial Leader

HCP ( HCP) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial leader. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, HCP rose 31 cents (0.7%) to $45.50 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.8 million shares of HCP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $44.67-$45.68 after having opened the day at $44.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.19. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Broadway Financial ( BYFC), up 48.2%, Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), up 18.7%, HMG/Courtland Properties ( HMG), up 17%, and Community Bank Shares of Indiana ( CBIN), up 14.7%.

HCP, Inc. is an independent hybrid real estate investment trust. The fund invests in real estate markets of the United States. HCP has a market cap of $19.14 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.8, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 29.6 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are three analysts that rate HCP a buy, four analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates HCP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the negative front, SYSWIN ( SYSW), down 12%, Credit Suisse ( UOIL), down 11.3%, VelocityShares 3x Long Crude ETN ( UWTI), down 11.2%, and Meadowbrook Insurance Group ( MIG), down 10%, were all laggards within the financial sector with Travelers Companies ( TRV) being today's financial sector laggard.

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).