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 1.1%. By the end of trading, SLM fell $0.23 (-1.1%) to $20.40 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4,724,078 shares of SLM exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,790,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $19.79-$20.48 after having opened the day at $20.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.63. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Blackhawk Network Holdings ( HAWK), down 4.5%, Palmetto ( PLMT), down 3.2%, Teucrium Agricultural Fund ( TAGS), down 3.0% and Cash America International ( CSH), down 2.6%.
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SLM Corporation, through its subsidiaries, originates, acquires, finances, and services private education loans in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Consumer Lending, Business Services, and FFELP Loans. SLM has a market cap of $9.2 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 18.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates SLM as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, Cash Store Financial Services ( CSFS), down 17.4%, Security National Financial Corporation ( SNFCA), down 6.8%, MicroFinancial ( MFI), down 6.7% and GFI Group ( GFIG), down 5.6% , were all gainers within the financial services industry with Goldman Sachs Group ( GS) 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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