Aflac Inc (AFL): 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

Aflac ( AFL) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Aflac rose $0.63 (1.2%) to $53.20 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4,356,251 shares of Aflac exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,638,400 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $52.69-$53.31 after having opened the day at $53.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.57. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Atlas Financial Holdings ( AFH), up 4.9%, eHealth ( EHTH), up 4.0%, American Independence Corporation ( AMIC), up 3.1% and Prudential ( PUK), up 3.0%.
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Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance products. Aflac has a market cap of $24.1 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aflac as a buy. 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, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Aon plc ( AON), down 3.7%, American International Group ( AIG), down 3.3%, CNinsure ( CISG), down 3.3% and MBIA ( MBI), down 3.3% , were all laggards within the insurance industry with Chubb ( CB) 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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