Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (HIG): 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.

Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Hartford Financial Services Group fell 21 cents (-1.2%) to $17.94 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3.6 million shares of Hartford Financial Services Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $17.90-$18.23 after having opened the day at $18.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.15. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: China Life Insurance ( LFC), down 4.2%, Assured Guaranty ( AGO), down 4%, Genworth Financial ( GNW), down 2.8%, and MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), down 2.5%.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services primarily in the United States and Japan. Hartford Financial Services Group has a market cap of $7.44 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 100.1, above the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 50.2 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Hartford Financial Services Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hartford Financial Services 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, reasonable valuation levels 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 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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