Torchmark Corporation (TMK): Today's Featured Insurance Laggard

Torchmark Corporation ( TMK) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Torchmark Corporation fell 91 cents (-1.8%) to $49.80 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1.3 million shares of Torchmark Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 779,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $49.65-$50.81 after having opened the day at $50.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $50.71. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: Crawford & Company ( CRD.B), down 3.7%, Citizens ( CIA), down 2.9%, United Fire Group ( UFCS), down 2.8%, and Crawford & Company ( CRD.A), down 2.7%.

Torchmark Corporation, an insurance holding company, provides individual life and supplemental health insurance, and annuities, to middle income households in the United States. Torchmark Corporation has a market cap of $5.06 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.2, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Torchmark Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, MBIA ( MBI), up 14.8%, Assured Guaranty ( AGO), up 7.6%, 21st Century Holding Company ( TCHC), up 5.2%, and AEGON ( AEG), up 4.6%, were all gainers within the insurance industry with Lincoln National Corp (Radnor ( LNC) being today's featured insurance industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).
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