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

Newcastle Investment Corporation ( NCT) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Newcastle Investment Corporation rose $0.26 (2.4%) to $11.18 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6,010,192 shares of Newcastle Investment Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,619,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $10.79-$11.36 after having opened the day at $10.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $10.92. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: National Bank of Greece ( NBG), up 25.3%, Royal Bancshares of Pennsylvania ( RBPAA), up 9.5%, Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), up 9.2% and Oak Valley Bancorp ( OVLY), up 7.6%.
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Newcastle Investment Corp. operates as a real estate investment and finance company in the United States. Newcastle Investment Corporation has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 25.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Newcastle Investment Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's earnings per share has not been good.

On the negative front, Homex Development ( HXM), down 26.2%, Hancock Holding Company ( HBHC), down 9.2%, Credit Suisse ( UOIL), down 7.8% and First Marblehead Corporation ( FMD), down 6.7% , were all laggards within the financial sector with Lincoln National Corp (Radnor ( LNC) being today's financial sector laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

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