Principal Financial Group (PFG): Today's Featured Financial Services Winner

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.

Principal Financial Group ( PFG) pushed the Financial Services industry higher today making it today's featured financial services winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Principal Financial Group rose 37 cents (1.4%) to $26.78 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.8 million shares of Principal Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $26.45-$26.98 after having opened the day at $26.45 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.41. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that increased today were: Penson Worldwide ( PNSN), up 14.3%, SP Bancorp ( SPBC), up 10.6%, Community Bankers Trust Corporation ( BTC), up 9.1%, and Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 6.8%.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. Principal Financial Group has a market cap of $7.71 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.3, below the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 13.2 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Principal Financial Group a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Principal Financial Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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).