Assured Guaranty Ltd (AGO): 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

Assured Guaranty ( AGO) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Assured Guaranty rose $0.32 (1.6%) to $20.00 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,518,376 shares of Assured Guaranty exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,418,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.46-$20.01 after having opened the day at $19.76 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.68. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Donegal Group ( DGICB), up 19.9%, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), up 3.8%, Meadowbrook Insurance Group ( MIG), up 3.7% and National Security Group ( NSEC), up 2.2%.
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Assured Guaranty Ltd., through its subsidiaries, provides credit protection products to public finance, infrastructure, and structured finance markets in the United States and internationally. Assured Guaranty has a market cap of $3.7 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 38.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Assured Guaranty as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 5.7%, State Auto Financial Corporation ( STFC), down 4.8%, AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI), down 4.3% and eHealth ( EHTH), down 2.9% , 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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