Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): 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.

Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial fell 73 cents (-1.3%) to $55.79 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1.9 million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of four million shares. The stock ranged in price between $55.48-$56.32 after having opened the day at $56.15 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.52. Other companies within the Financial sector that declined today were: Amrep Corporation ( AXR), down 12.1%, InnSuites Hospitality ( IHT), down 11.2%, Institutional Financial Markets ( IFMI), down 10.2%, and American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), down 7.7%.
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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 $25.71 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. 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 increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the positive front, Southern Connecticut Bancorp ( SSE), up 18.3%, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings ( NSM), up 16.9%, Hampton Roads Bankshares ( HMPR), up 16.1%, and IFM Investments ( CTC), up 15.1%, were all gainers within the financial sector with UBS ( UBS) 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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