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Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.9%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial rose $1.46 (1.9%) to $78.52 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,782,693 shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,970,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $77.48-$78.64 after having opened the day at $77.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $77.06. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: MGIC Investment Corporation ( MTG), up 5.2%, Lincoln National Corp (Radnor ( LNC), up 4.0%, Symetra Financial Corporation ( SYA), up 3.6% and Baldwin & Lyons ( BWINA), up 3.6%.

Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides a range of insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services to both individual and institutional customers in the United States and internationally. Prudential Financial has a market cap of $35.9 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 44.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Prudential Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prudential Financial as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), down 5.1% and Platinum Underwriters Holdings ( PTP), down 1.5% , were all laggards within the insurance industry with Axis Capital Holdings ( AXS) 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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