Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): Today's Featured Insurance 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.

Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.9%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial fell 79 cents (-1.4%) to $53.80 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.1 million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.7 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $53.78-$54.45 after having opened the day at $54.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $54.59. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: Homeowners Choice ( HCII), down 7.6%, Fortegra Financial ( FRF), down 4.8%, First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), down 4.8%, and MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), down 3.3%.

Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment management services in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential Financial has a market cap of $24.88 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.8, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Prudential Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prudential Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

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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