5 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

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 42 points (0.3%) at 14,338 as of Thursday, March 7, 2013, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,674 issues advancing vs. 1,197 declining with 153 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include HDFC Bank ( HDB), up 3.4%, Charles Schwab ( SCHW), up 2.2%, SunTrust Banks ( STI), up 1.9%, BB&T ( BBT), up 1.8% and Prudential Financial ( PRU), up 1.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Lloyds Banking Group ( LYG), down 2.6%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (The ( RBS), down 1.9%, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), down 1.8%, Shinhan Financial Group ( SHG), down 1.4% and American Express ( AXP), down 0.6%.

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

5. MetLife ( MET) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, MetLife is up $0.24 (0.7%) to $36.78 on light volume Thus far, 2.4 million shares of MetLife exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $36.61-$37.00 after having opened the day at $36.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.54.

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs in the United States, Japan, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. MetLife has a market cap of $39.8 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate MetLife a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

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

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4. As of noon trading, Goldman Sachs Group ( GS) is up $2.32 (1.5%) to $156.45 on average volume Thus far, 1.7 million shares of Goldman Sachs Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $154.50-$157.10 after having opened the day at $154.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $154.13.

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 $71.2 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 5 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 the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Goldman Sachs Group Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Wells Fargo ( WFC) is up $0.34 (0.9%) to $36.39 on light volume Thus far, 7.6 million shares of Wells Fargo exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 24.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $36.08-$36.44 after having opened the day at $36.14 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.05.

Wells Fargo & Company provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services. The company operates in three segments: Community Banking; Wholesale Banking; and Wealth, Brokerage, and Retirement. Wells Fargo has a market cap of $189.1 billion and is part of the banking 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 5.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 17 analysts that rate Wells Fargo a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Wells Fargo as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Wells Fargo Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, American International Group ( AIG) is up $0.62 (1.6%) to $39.06 on light volume Thus far, 7.4 million shares of American International Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 24.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $38.60-$39.36 after having opened the day at $38.61 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.45.

American International Group, Inc. engages in the provision of insurance products and services for the commercial, institutional, and individual customers in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Chartis, SunAmerica Financial Group, and Aircraft Leasing. American International Group has a market cap of $56.5 billion and is part of the insurance industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate American International Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American International Group as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. Get the full American International Group Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Bank of America Corporation ( BAC) is up $0.27 (2.3%) to $12.19 on average volume Thus far, 97.4 million shares of Bank of America Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 163.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.98-$12.24 after having opened the day at $12.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.92.

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 $125.0 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 46.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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 5 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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