Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (HIG): Today's Highlighted Performer In Insurance

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.

Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Hartford Financial Services Group rose $1.03 (4.2%) to $25.85 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 9.5 million shares of Hartford Financial Services Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.8 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.96-$25.93 after having opened the day at $25.03 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.82. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Kingstone Companies ( KINS), up 5.7%, National Financial Partners Corporation ( NFP), up 4.2%, ING Groep N.V ( ING), up 4.1%, and Radian Group ( RDN), up 3.8%.
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The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers primarily in the United States and Japan. Hartford Financial Services Group has a market cap of $11.16 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Hartford Financial Services Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hartford Financial Services Group as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), down 3.4%, First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), down 3%, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 2.6%, and Prudential Financial ( PRU), down 1.8%, were all laggards within the insurance industry with Aflac ( AFL) 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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