SLM Corp (SLM): Today's Featured Financial Services Laggard

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.

SLM ( SLM) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, SLM fell 30 cents (-1.6%) to $19.07 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 11.5 million shares of SLM exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.6 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $18.84-$19.59 after having opened the day at $19.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.37. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Gleacher ( GLCH), down 5.5%, Paulson Capital ( PLCC), down 5.4%, Arlington Asset Investment ( AI), down 4%, and Consumer Portfolio Services ( CPSS), down 3.8%.
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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 $8.88 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are five analysts that rate SLM a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates 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.

On the positive front, Palmetto ( PLMT), up 9.9%, Resource America Inc. CL A ( REXI), up 6.8%, Pzena Investment Management ( PZN), up 5.7%, and Noah Holdings ( NOAH), up 5.6%, were all gainers within the financial services industry with Ameriprise Financial ( AMP) being today's featured financial services industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the financial services industry could consider Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) while those bearish on the financial services industry could consider Proshares Short Financials ( SEF).

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