5 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

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 17 points (0.1%) at 13,052 as of Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,459 issues advancing vs. 1,413 declining with 145 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Epoch Holding Corporation ( EPHC), up 26.5%, Shinhan Financial Group ( SHG), up 3.3%, General Growth Properties ( GGP), up 2.7%, Woori Finance Holdings ( WF), up 2.3% and Orix Corporation ( IX), up 2.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Deutsche Bank ( DB), down 1.6%, American International Group ( AIG), down 1.6%, Toronto-Dominion Bank ( TD), down 1.5%, Discover Financial Services ( DFS), down 1.2% and Banco Santander Chile ( BSAC), down 1.2%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. AvalonBay Communities ( AVB) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, AvalonBay Communities is up $1.25 (0.9%) to $133.97 on average volume Thus far, 414,693 shares of AvalonBay Communities exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 921,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $132.55-$134.57 after having opened the day at $132.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $132.72.

AvalonBay Communities, Inc. engages in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership, and operation of multifamily communities in the United States. AvalonBay Communities has a market cap of $13.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 49.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate AvalonBay Communities a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates AvalonBay Communities as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 AvalonBay Communities Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, HCP ( HCP) is up $0.33 (0.7%) to $45.15 on light volume Thus far, 523,231 shares of HCP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $44.89-$45.25 after having opened the day at $44.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.82.

HCP, Inc. is an independent hybrid real estate investment trust. The fund invests in real estate markets of the United States. HCP has a market cap of $20.3 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate HCP a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates HCP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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 HCP Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, BB&T ( BBT) is up $0.21 (0.8%) to $28.07 on light volume Thus far, 1.4 million shares of BB&T exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $27.76-$28.10 after having opened the day at $27.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.86.

BB&T Corporation operates as a financial holding company for Branch Banking and Trust Company that provides various banking and trust services for retail and commercial clients. BB&T has a market cap of $19.4 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate BB&T a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 18 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BB&T 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, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full BB&T Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, BlackRock ( BLK) is up $0.97 (0.5%) to $193.41 on light volume Thus far, 108,670 shares of BlackRock exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 786,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $191.69-$193.53 after having opened the day at $192.40 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $192.44.

BlackRock, Inc. is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm primarily provides its services to institutional, intermediary, and individual investors. BlackRock has a market cap of $33.4 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate BlackRock a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BlackRock as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full BlackRock Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Simon Property Group ( SPG) is up $2.31 (1.5%) to $154.58 on light volume Thus far, 335,690 shares of Simon Property Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $153.26-$154.73 after having opened the day at $153.28 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $152.27.

Simon Property Group, Inc. is an independent equity real estate investment trust. It engages in investment, ownership, and management of properties. The firm invests in the real estate markets across the globe. Simon Property Group has a market cap of $47.2 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Simon Property Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Simon Property Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Simon Property Group Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 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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