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General Growth Properties ( GGP) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, General Growth Properties rose $0.41 (2.0%) to $20.53 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3,506,727 shares of General Growth Properties exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,724,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $20.21-$20.54 after having opened the day at $20.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.12. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: SWS Group ( SWS), up 20.3%, Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), up 14.2%, SPDR Russell 1000 ETF ( ONEK), up 13.1% and Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares ( NUGT), up 10.1%.

General Growth Properties, Inc is an equity real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It engages in owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high-quality regional malls. General Growth Properties has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 134.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate General Growth Properties a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates General Growth Properties as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

On the negative front, Gaming and Leisure Properties ( GLPI), down 17.1%, American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), down 10.6%, Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares ( DUST), down 10.3% and InnSuites Hospitality ( IHT), down 9.7% , were all laggards within the financial sector with New York Community Bancorp ( NYCB) 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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