4 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

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 24 points (-0.2%) at 14,029 as of Friday, March 1, 2013, 11:49 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,249 issues advancing vs. 1,609 declining with 131 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits down 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include Orix Corporation ( IX), up 3.5%, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), up 3.1%, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ( MTU), up 1.6%, Toronto-Dominion Bank ( TD), up 0.6% and Citigroup ( C), up 0.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Icahn ( IEP), down 12.7%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (The ( RBS), down 4.0%, Lloyds Banking Group ( LYG), down 3.9%, Credit Suisse Group ( CS), down 2.5% and UBS ( UBS), down 2.0%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. SLM ( SLM) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, SLM is up $0.46 (2.4%) to $19.43 on average volume Thus far, 2.5 million shares of SLM exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $18.80-$19.44 after having opened the day at $18.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.97.

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 $8.6 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 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 attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full SLM Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, General Growth Properties ( GGP) is up $0.37 (1.9%) to $19.51 on average volume Thus far, 2.4 million shares of General Growth Properties exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $19.08-$19.57 after having opened the day at $19.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.14.

General Growth Properties, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust in the United States. It operates in two segments, Retail and Other, and Master Planned Communities. General Growth Properties has a market cap of $18.1 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 2.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate General Growth Properties a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates General Growth Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing. Get the full General Growth Properties Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Goldman Sachs Group ( GS) is up $0.63 (0.4%) to $150.39 on average volume Thus far, 2.3 million shares of Goldman Sachs Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $147.22-$151.70 after having opened the day at $148.38 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $149.76.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services, as well as a range of financial services to corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Goldman Sachs Group has a market cap of $71.3 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Goldman Sachs Group a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 15 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Goldman Sachs Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, solid stock price performance 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 Goldman Sachs Group Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Bank of America Corporation ( BAC) is up $0.16 (1.4%) to $11.38 on average volume Thus far, 101.5 million shares of Bank of America Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 168.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.02-$11.55 after having opened the day at $11.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.23.

Bank of America Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various banking and financial products and services to individual consumers, small-and middle-market businesses, institutional investors, corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. Bank of America Corporation has a market cap of $121.8 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 45.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Bank of America Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 16 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Bank of America Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full Bank of America Corporation Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 4 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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