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Allstate ( ALL) pushed the Financial sector lower today making it today's featured Financial laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Allstate fell $0.52 (-1.0%) to $50.55 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,376,404 shares of Allstate exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,723,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $50.45-$50.96 after having opened the day at $50.77 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.07. Other companies within the Financial sector that declined today were: IFM Investments ( CTC), down 11.8%, Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones-Provi ( PVD), down 10.1%, First Marblehead Corporation ( FMD), down 7.9% and Hampton Roads Bankshares ( HMPR), down 6.6%.

The Allstate Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the provision of personal property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and retirement and investment products primarily in the United States. Allstate has a market cap of $24.0 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are up 28.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Allstate a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Allstate 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, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Millennium India Acquisition Corporation ( SMCG), up 34.0%, Brookfield Office Properties ( BPO), up 13.7%, BBX Capital ( BBX), up 10.4% and InnSuites Hospitality ( IHT), up 7.4% , were all gainers within the financial sector with Cullen Frost Bankers ( CFR) being today's featured financial sector leader.

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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