Prudential Financial Inc (PRU): Today's Featured Insurance Laggard

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Prudential Financial ( PRU) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Prudential Financial fell $0.86 (-1.1%) to $77.84 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,252,657 shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,642,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $77.71-$78.83 after having opened the day at $78.66 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $78.70. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: Kingstone Companies ( KINS), down 4.7%, Unico American Corporation ( UNAM), down 3.0%, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), down 2.8% and Atlas Financial Holdings ( AFH), down 2.6%.

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 $36.8 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 47.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 11 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 solid stock price performance, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations 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 positive front, CNinsure ( CISG), up 3.6%, Crawford & Company ( CRD.B), up 2.6%, State Auto Financial Corporation ( STFC), up 2.2% and Safety Insurance Group ( SAFT), up 1.8%.

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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