Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

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 Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial rose $1.37 (2.4%) to $59.60 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, five million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of three million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $58.52-$59.71 after having opened the day at $58.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.23. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Phoenix Companies ( PNX), up 8.5%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), up 6%, MetLife ( MET), up 4.9%, and Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG), up 4.5%.
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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 $26.37 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 62.6, 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 Thursday. Currently there are 14 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 buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust 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.

On the negative front, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 4%, Eastern Insurance Holdings ( EIHI), down 3.2%, Stewart Information Services ( STC), down 2.8%, and Aflac ( AFL), down 2.8%, were all laggards within the insurance industry with MBIA ( MBI) being today's insurance industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

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