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

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Franklin Resources ( BEN) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Franklin Resources fell $1.21 (-1%) to $118.72 on light volume. Throughout the day, 579,720 shares of Franklin Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of one million shares. The stock ranged in price between $118.50-$119.91 after having opened the day at $119.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $119.93. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Penson Worldwide ( PNSN), down 18.1%, Direct Markets Holdings ( MKTS), down 9.6%, Credit Suisse ( DSLV), down 7.7%, and Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), down 6.7%.

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 $24.77 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 14, above the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 13.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Franklin Resources a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and seven 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 expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Siebert Financial Corporation ( SIEB), up 5.6%, Mesabi ( MSB), up 3.5%, Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation ( AACC), up 3.5%, and Walter Investment Management ( WAC), up 3.2%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with Goldman Sachs Group ( GS) 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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