AvalonBay Communities Inc (AVB): Today's Featured Financial Laggard

AvalonBay Communities ( AVB) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, AvalonBay Communities fell $1.29 (-0.9%) to $143.43 on average volume. Throughout the day, 510,270 shares of AvalonBay Communities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 630,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $143.36-$145.20 after having opened the day at $144.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $144.72. Other company's within the Financial sector that declined today were: Knight Capital Group ( KCG), down 24.2%, Direct Markets Holdings ( MKTS), down 12.7%, Broadway Financial ( BYFC), down 12.2%, and Chanticleer Holdings ( HOTR), down 6.7%.

AvalonBay Communities, Inc. engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. AvalonBay Communities has a market cap of $13.81 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 44.7, above the average real estate industry P/E ratio of 23.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate AvalonBay Communities a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AvalonBay Communities as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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, American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), up 19%, MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), up 18.4%, United Community Financial Corporation ( UCFC), up 12.9%, and United Fire Group ( UFCS), up 11.8%, were all gainers within the financial sector with Regions Financial Corporation ( RF) 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).