Allstate Corp (ALL): Today's Featured Financial 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.

Allstate ( ALL) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Allstate fell 93 cents (-2.3%) to $39.05 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 8.1 million shares of Allstate exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.7 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $38.74-$40.76 after having opened the day at $40.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.98. Other companies within the Financial sector that declined today were: Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), down 21.8%, Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), down 14.3%, National Bank of Greece ( NBG), down 11.4%, and First Financial Service Corporation ( FFKY), down 9.4%.
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The Allstate Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the personal property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and retirement and investment products business primarily in the United States. Allstate has a market cap of $19.47 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 46.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Allstate a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Allstate as a buy. 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, solid stock price performance, 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 positive front, Impac Mortgage Holdings ( IMH), up 30.9%, SGOCO Group ( SGOC), up 29.4%, Crescent Financial ( CRFN), up 21.3%, and First Marblehead Corporation ( FMD), up 17%, were all gainers within the financial sector with U.S. Bancorp ( USB) being today's featured financial sector leader.

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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