Blackstone Group LP (BX): Today's Featured Financial Services Laggard

Blackstone Group ( BX) pushed the Financial Services industry lower today making it today's featured Financial Services laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Blackstone Group fell $0.23 (-1.1%) to $20.52 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4,994,411 shares of Blackstone Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,025,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.44-$21.19 after having opened the day at $20.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.75. Other companies within the Financial Services industry that declined today were: Paulson Capital ( PLCC), down 5.7%, Siebert Financial Corporation ( SIEB), down 5.6%, SWS Group ( SWS), down 5.3% and QIWI PLC ADR ( QIWI), down 4.1%.

The Blackstone Group L.P., together with its subsidiaries, provides alternative asset management and financial advisory services worldwide. It operates in five segments: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions, Credit Businesses, and Financial Advisory. Blackstone Group has a market cap of $11.4 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 33.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Blackstone Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Blackstone Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the positive front, First Marblehead Corporation ( FMD), up 16.3%, Xoom ( XOOM), up 6.9%, Evercore Partners ( EVR), up 4.5% and DFC Global ( DLLR), up 4.3% , were all gainers within the financial services industry with Morgan Stanley ( MS) 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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