4 Stocks Pushing The Financial Sector Higher

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

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 19 points (-0.1%) at 13,006 as of Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,239 issues advancing vs. 1,655 declining with 129 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Goldman Sachs Group ( GS), up 1.1%, Bank of New York Mellon ( BK), up 1.0%, MetLife ( MET), up 0.9%, American International Group ( AIG), up 0.9% and Public Storage ( PSA), up 0.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Banco De Chile ( BCH), down 1.9%, Lloyds Banking Group ( LYG), down 2.0%, Morgan Stanley ( MS), down 1.4%, Shinhan Financial Group ( SHG), down 0.9% and Royal Bank of Scotland Group (The ( RBS), down 0.8%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. Equifax ( EFX) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Equifax is up $2.51 (4.9%) to $53.75 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Equifax exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 783,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $52.66-$55.52 after having opened the day at $53.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.24.

Equifax Inc. collects, organizes, and manages various financial, demographic, employment, and marketing information solutions for businesses and consumers. The company's U.S. Equifax has a market cap of $6.1 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 31.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Equifax a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Equifax 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Equifax Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) is up $650.82 (0.5%) to $132,566.82 on average volume Thus far, 260 shares of Berkshire Hathaway exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 600 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $131,952.50-$132,850.00 after having opened the day at $132,345.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $131,916.00.

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is a publicly owned investment manager. Through its subsidiaries, the firm primarily engages in the insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks business. Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1889 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. Berkshire Hathaway has a market cap of $121.2 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 1968.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 14.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Berkshire Hathaway as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Get the full Berkshire Hathaway Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, CME Group ( CME) is up $0.43 (0.8%) to $55.70 on light volume Thus far, 297,142 shares of CME Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $55.30-$55.82 after having opened the day at $55.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.27.

CME Group Inc. operates the CME, CBOT, NYMEX and COMEX futures exchanges worldwide. The company provides a range of products across various asset classes, such as interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, metals, weather, and real estate. CME Group has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate CME Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CME Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full CME Group Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, State Street ( STT) is up $0.51 (1.1%) to $44.95 on average volume Thus far, 2.1 million shares of State Street exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $44.41-$45.06 after having opened the day at $44.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.44.

State Street Corporation, a financial holding company, provides various financial products and services to institutional investors worldwide. State Street has a market cap of $20.7 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate State Street a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates State Street as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full State Street Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 4 stocks, 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).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: 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.
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