5 Stocks Pushing The Insurance Industry 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

Two out of the three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 35 points (0.3%) at 14,006 as of Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 12:05 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,786 issues advancing vs. 1,060 declining with 154 unchanged.

The Insurance industry currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.1%. Top gainers within the industry include Aegon ( AEG), up 2.5%, and Sun Life Financial ( SLF), up 1.6%.

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

5. ING Groep N.V ( ING) is one of the companies pushing the Insurance industry higher today. As of noon trading, ING Groep N.V is up $0.11 (1.2%) to $9.29 on light volume Thus far, 559,504 shares of ING Groep N.V exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $9.18-$9.30 after having opened the day at $9.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.18.

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 $35.0 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. 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 deteriorating 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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4. As of noon trading, Manulife Financial Corporation ( MFC) is up $0.27 (1.8%) to $15.49 on average volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Manulife Financial Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $15.16-$15.49 after having opened the day at $15.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.22.

Manulife Financial Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial protection and wealth management products and services to individuals and group customers primarily in Asia, Canada, and the United States. Manulife Financial Corporation has a market cap of $27.0 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Manulife Financial Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Manulife Financial Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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 Manulife Financial Corporation Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Assurant ( AIZ) is up $2.37 (6.2%) to $40.85 on heavy volume Thus far, 991,426 shares of Assurant exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 901,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $39.05-$40.88 after having opened the day at $39.15 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.48.

Assurant, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides specialized insurance products and related services in the North America and internationally. It operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits. Assurant has a market cap of $3.0 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Assurant a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Assurant as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Assurant Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) is up $851.00 (0.6%) to $146,686.00 on light volume Thus far, 85 shares of Berkshire Hathaway exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $146,100.00-$146,850.00 after having opened the day at $146,200.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $145,835.00.

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is a publicly owned investment manager. Through its subsidiaries, the firm primarily engages in the insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks business. Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1889 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. Berkshire Hathaway has a market cap of $134.6 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 2184.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Berkshire Hathaway as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Get the full Berkshire Hathaway Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Travelers Companies ( TRV) is up $0.68 (0.9%) to $79.90 on light volume Thus far, 487,179 shares of Travelers Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $79.10-$79.92 after having opened the day at $79.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $79.21.

The Travelers Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals primarily in the United States. Travelers Companies has a market cap of $30.1 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Travelers Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Travelers Companies 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 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 Travelers Companies 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 insurance industry could consider KBW Insurance ETF ( KIE) while those bearish on the insurance industry 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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