Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): Today's Featured Insurance 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.

Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial fell 91 cents (-1.7%) to $51.76 on average volume. Throughout the day, four million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.8 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $51.69-$53.50 after having opened the day at $52.76 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.67. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 4.6%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), down 4.5%, CNinsure ( CISG), down 2.7%, and Triple-S Management Corporation ( GTS), down 2.7%.
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Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment management services in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential Financial has a market cap of $24.22 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Prudential Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prudential Financial as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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