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.

XL Group ( XL) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, XL Group rose 27 cents (1.1%) to $24.30 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.8 million shares of XL Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.15-$24.49 after having opened the day at $24.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.03. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), up 18.3%, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), up 11.5%, MSB Financial Corporation ( MSBF), up 10.3%, and Bank VA Chesterfield ( BOVA), up 10%.
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XL Group plc, through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and reinsurance coverages to industrial, commercial, and professional firms, as well as insurance companies and other enterprises worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Insurance, Reinsurance, and Life Operations. XL Group has a market cap of $7.36 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 21.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate XL Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and nine rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates XL Group as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, deteriorating net income and poor profit margins.

On the negative front, Broadway Financial ( BYFC), down 24.7%, VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN ( DGAZ), down 13.6%, Oak Valley Bancorp ( OVLY), down 9.9%, and HMN Financial ( HMNF), down 8.9%, were all laggards within the financial sector with UDR ( UDR) being today's financial sector laggard.

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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