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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