Progressive Corporation (PGR): 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.

Progressive Corporation ( PGR) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Progressive Corporation rose 26 cents (1.2%) to $22.35 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4.2 million shares of Progressive Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of five million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $21.97-$22.48 after having opened the day at $22.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $22.09. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), up 12.1%, Village Bank and Trust Financial Corporatio ( VBFC), up 10.3%, Credit Suisse ( UOIL), up 8.4%, and Credit Suisse ( DGAZ), up 7.9%.
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The Progressive Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides personal and commercial automobile insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance products and related services primarily in the United States. Progressive Corporation has a market cap of $13.36 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Progressive Corporation a buy, three analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Progressive Corporation 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Carver Bancorp ( CARV), down 17.3%, Broadway Financial ( BYFC), down 11.2%, Bank of the James Financial Group ( BOTJ), down 10.7%, and Riverview Bancorp ( RVSB), down 9.2%, were all laggards within the financial sector with Deutsche Bank ( DB) 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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