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

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 25 points (-0.2%) at 14,513 as of Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:49 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,309 issues advancing vs. 1,578 declining with 140 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Morgan Stanley ( MS), up 2.7%, Credit Suisse Group ( CS), up 1.4%, UBS ( UBS), up 1.5%, Capital One Financial ( COF), up 1.2% and Goldman Sachs Group ( GS), up 0.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include BB&T ( BBT), down 2.6%, Nomura Holdings ( NMR), down 1.6% and ING Groep N.V ( ING), down 0.8%.

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

4. Discover Financial Services ( DFS) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Discover Financial Services is up $1.13 (2.6%) to $43.98 on heavy volume Thus far, 5.5 million shares of Discover Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $43.15-$44.12 after having opened the day at $43.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.85.

Discover Financial Services, a bank holding company, provides direct banking and payment services in the United States. It operates in two segments, Direct Banking and Payment Services. Discover Financial Services has a market cap of $21.3 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 11.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Discover Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Discover Financial Services as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Discover Financial Services Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, American Express ( AXP) is up $0.82 (1.2%) to $66.20 on heavy volume Thus far, 4.9 million shares of American Express exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $65.34-$66.43 after having opened the day at $65.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $65.38.

American Express Company provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to customers worldwide. American Express has a market cap of $72.0 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate American Express a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Express as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, 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 American Express Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Wells Fargo ( WFC) is up $1.01 (2.7%) to $37.98 on heavy volume Thus far, 28.5 million shares of Wells Fargo exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 24.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.30-$37.98 after having opened the day at $37.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.97.

Wells Fargo & Company provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services. Wells Fargo has a market cap of $193.8 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. 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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1. As of noon trading, Bank of America Corporation ( BAC) is up $0.48 (4.0%) to $12.59 on heavy volume Thus far, 185.7 million shares of Bank of America Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 164.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $12.35-$12.61 after having opened the day at $12.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.11.

Bank of America Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various banking and financial products and services for 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 $130.5 billion and is part of the banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 48.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Bank of America Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 15 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, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and weak operating cash flow. 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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