Principal Financial Group (PFG): Today's Featured Financial Winner

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Principal Financial Group ( PFG) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Principal Financial Group rose $0.66 (1.3%) to $49.79 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,175,277 shares of Principal Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,252,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $49.19-$49.83 after having opened the day at $49.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.13. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: eHealth ( EHTH), up 20.7%, SPDR Russell 1000 ETF ( ONEK), up 12.8%, Credit Suisse ( DGAZ), up 10.8% and Blackstone Mortgage ( BXMT), up 8.8%.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. It operates in four segments: Retirement and Investor Services, Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S. Insurance Solutions. Principal Financial Group has a market cap of $14.4 billion and is part of the financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Principal Financial Group a buy, 5 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Principal Financial Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Credit Suisse ( UGAZ), down 11.9%, Wayne Savings ( WAYN), down 8.8%, OptimumBank Holdings ( OPHC), down 8.3% and China HGS Real Estate ( HGSH), down 7.8% , were all laggards within the financial sector with Credicorp ( BAP) being today's financial sector laggard.

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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