Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN): Today's Featured Financial Laggard

Franklin Resources ( BEN) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.6%. By the end of trading, Franklin Resources fell $1.42 (-1.3%) to $107.37 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.2 million shares of Franklin Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 977,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $106.86-$109.04 after having opened the day at $108.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $108.79. Other company's within the Financial sector that declined today were: Ohio Legacy Corporation ( OLCB), down 12.5%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), down 9.4%, Patriot National Bancorp ( PNBK), down 8.8%, and Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), down 8.7%.

Franklin Resources Inc. is a publicly owned asset management holding company. The firm provides its services to individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, and partnerships. It manages, through its subsidiary, separate client-focused equity, fixed income, and balanced portfolios. Franklin Resources has a market cap of $23.75 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.7, equal to the average financial services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Franklin Resources a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Franklin Resources 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, notable return on equity, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Peoples Financial Corporation ( PFBX), up 14%, HMN Financial ( HMNF), up 13.1%, CoreLogic ( CLGX), up 12.7%, and Severn Bancorp ( SVBI), up 9.6%, were all gainers within the financial sector with Simon Property Group ( SPG) being today's featured financial sector leader.

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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