Aflac Inc (AFL): Today's Featured Insurance 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.

Aflac ( AFL) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Aflac rose $0.92 (1.4%) to $65.19 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,736,587 shares of Aflac exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,993,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $64.10-$65.26 after having opened the day at $64.82 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $64.27. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Life Partners Holdings ( LPHI), up 14.2%, Hilltop Holdings ( HTH), up 8.4%, National Interstate Corporation ( NATL), up 7.9% and First Acceptance Corporation ( FAC), up 5.9%.

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance products. Aflac has a market cap of $30.1 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Aflac a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Aflac as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Triple-S Management Corporation ( GTS), down 2.5%, Crawford & Company ( CRD.A), down 2.0%, Allied World Assurance Company Holdings ( AWH), down 1.9% and American Equity Investment Life Holding Com ( AEL), down 1.9% , were all laggards within the insurance industry with AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI) 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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