SLM Corp (SLM): Today's Featured Financial 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.

SLM ( SLM) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, SLM rose 21 cents (1.3%) to $16.16 on light volume. Throughout the day, two million shares of SLM exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of four million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $15.86-$16.20 after having opened the day at $16.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.95. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: WSB Holdings ( WSB), up 82.9%, Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), up 22.7%, Amrep Corporation ( AXR), up 18.9%, and American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), up 13.9%.

SLM Corporation, through its subsidiaries, originates, acquires, finances, and services private education loans in the United States. It offers processing capabilities to educational institutions, 529 college-savings plan program management services, and a consumer savings network. SLM has a market cap of $7.48 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.8, above the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 9.5 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are six analysts that rate SLM a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates SLM as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial sector could consider Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial sector could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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