SLM Corp (SLM): Today's Featured Financial 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.

SLM ( SLM) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, SLM fell 22 cents (-1.3%) to $17 on light volume. Throughout the day, 867,521 shares of SLM exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $16.94-$17.29 after having opened the day at $17.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $17.21. Other companies within the Financial sector that declined today were: New Century Bancorp ( NCBC), down 8.5%, HMG/Courtland Properties ( HMG), down 8%, Markel Corporation ( MKL), down 8%, and Credit Suisse ( DWTI), down 7.7%.
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SLM Corporation, through its subsidiaries, originates, acquires, finances, and services private education loans in the United States. It offers processing capabilities to educational institutions, 529 college-savings plan program management services, and a consumer savings network. SLM has a market cap of $7.91 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of eight, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 28.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are six analysts that rate SLM a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates SLM 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, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, Ampal-American Israel Corporation ( AMPL), up 123.8%, Alterra Capital Holdings ( ALTE), up 24.1%, Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), up 16.7%, and Valley Financial ( VYFC), up 12%, were all gainers within the financial sector with Annaly Capital Management ( NLY) being today's featured financial sector leader.

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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