Principal Financial Group (PFG): Today's Featured Financial Services 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.

Principal Financial Group ( PFG) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Principal Financial Group fell 59 cents (-2.1%) to $27.70 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.5 million shares of Principal Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $27.24-$28.48 after having opened the day at $28.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $28.29. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Duff & Phelps Corporation Class A ( DUF), down 8.8%, Asset Acceptance Capital Corporation ( AACC), down 5.5%, China Ceramics ( CCCL), down 5.2%, and Mesabi ( MSB), down 4.8%.
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Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. Principal Financial Group has a market cap of $8.25 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.9, below the average financial services industry P/E ratio of 14.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are five analysts that rate Principal Financial Group a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Principal Financial 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations 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.

On the positive front, Siebert Financial Corporation ( SIEB), up 12.2%, Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. Class A ( OPY), up 8.8%, Walter Investment Management ( WAC), up 7%, and Federated Investors ( FII), up 6.5%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with Discover Financial Services ( DFS) being today's featured financial services industry leader.

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

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