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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 28 points (-0.2%) at 13,217 as of Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 12:05 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,125 issues advancing vs. 1,742 declining with 157 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. Top gainers within the sector include MBIA ( MBI), up 7.7%, KB Financial Group ( KB), up 2.2%, Shinhan Financial Group ( SHG), up 2.0%, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), up 1.6% and Aegon ( AEG), up 1.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Deutsche Bank ( DB), down 2.1%, General Growth Properties ( GGP), down 1.6%, Blackstone Group ( BX), down 1.5%, Discover Financial Services ( DFS), down 1.4% and HCP ( HCP), down 1.1%.

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

5. Proassurance Corporation ( PRA) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Proassurance Corporation is up $5.54 (6.8%) to $87.18 on average volume Thus far, 48,901 shares of Proassurance Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 109,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $85.95-$87.38 after having opened the day at $87.38 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $81.64.

ProAssurance Corporation operates as a specialty insurer offering professional liability insurance products primarily to physicians, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, and allied health professionals. Proassurance Corporation has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 15.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Proassurance Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Proassurance Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Proassurance Corporation Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Banco Santander Chile ( BSAC) is up $0.32 (1.2%) to $27.71 on light volume Thus far, 88,056 shares of Banco Santander Chile exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 471,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $27.33-$27.73 after having opened the day at $27.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $27.39.

Banco Santander-Chile provides commercial and retail banking services to corporate and individual customers in Chile. Banco Santander Chile has a market cap of $12.9 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are unchanged year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Banco Santander Chile a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Banco Santander Chile as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has experienced relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year. Get the full Banco Santander Chile Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, ING Groep N.V ( ING) is up $0.05 (0.5%) to $9.41 on light volume Thus far, 724,401 shares of ING Groep N.V exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $9.34-$9.46 after having opened the day at $9.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.36.

ING Groep N.V., a financial services company, provides banking, investment, life insurance, and retirement services for individuals, families, small businesses, corporations, institutions, and governments worldwide. ING Groep N.V has a market cap of $35.6 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 29.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate ING Groep N.V a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ING Groep N.V as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. Get the full ING Groep N.V Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Banco Santander ( SAN) is up $0.06 (0.8%) to $7.68 on light volume Thus far, 740,036 shares of Banco Santander exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $7.63-$7.71 after having opened the day at $7.64 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.62.

Banco Santander-Chile provides commercial and retail banking services to corporate and individual customers in Chile. Banco Santander has a market cap of $75.8 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are up 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Banco Santander a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Banco Santander as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, premium valuation and deteriorating net income. Get the full Banco Santander Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, American Tower ( AMT) is up $0.49 (0.7%) to $76.44 on average volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of American Tower exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $75.76-$77.00 after having opened the day at $75.91 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $75.95.

American Tower Corporation, a real estate investment trust, operates as a wireless and broadcast communications infrastructure company. It develops, owns, and operates communications sites. American Tower has a market cap of $29.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 42.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 27.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate American Tower a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Tower 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 notable return on equity. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full American Tower 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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