Equifax Inc. (EFX): Today's Featured Financial Services Laggard

Equifax ( EFX) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Equifax fell $1.53 (-3.1%) to $46.97 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 2.9 million shares of Equifax exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 974,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $45.48-$49.49 after having opened the day at $48.80 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.50. Other company's within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Cash America International ( CSH), down 18.7%, BGC Partners ( BGCP), down 8.6%, Penson Worldwide ( PNSN), down 6.6%, and Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), down 5.3%.

Equifax Inc. collects, organizes, and manages various financial, demographic, employment, and marketing information solutions for businesses and consumers. The company's U.S. Equifax has a market cap of $5.81 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.2, above the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 24.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 25.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Equifax a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equifax as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the positive front, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), up 9.3%, Direct Markets Holdings ( MKTS), up 7.3%, Ameriprise Financial ( AMP), up 5.8%, and Lazard ( LAZ), up 5.1%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with Capital One Financial ( COF) being today's featured financial services industry leader.

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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