Aflac Inc (AFL): 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.

Aflac ( AFL) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.7%. By the end of trading, Aflac rose 87 cents (1.8%) to $50.28 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.9 million shares of Aflac exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $49.43-$50.36 after having opened the day at $49.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.41. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), up 20.7%, SGOCO Group ( SGOC), up 16.1%, United Security ( UBFO), up 16%, and Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 13.6%.
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Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance. Aflac has a market cap of $22.84 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.9, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Aflac a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aflac as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Optibase ( OBAS), down 11.6%, Oak Ridge Financial Services ( BKOR), down 11.1%, ZipRealty ( ZIPR), down 7.1%, and MBT Financial Corporation ( MBTF), down 6.8%, were all laggards within the financial sector with HCP ( HCP) 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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