AmTrust Financial Services Inc. (AFSI): Today's Featured Insurance Laggard

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.

AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI) pushed the Insurance industry lower today making it today's featured Insurance laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, AmTrust Financial Services fell $0.38 (-1.1%) to $34.81 on light volume. Throughout the day, 618,587 shares of AmTrust Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 962,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $34.38-$35.49 after having opened the day at $35.07 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.19. Other companies within the Insurance industry that declined today were: 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%.

AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, underwrites and provides property and casualty insurance in the United States and internationally. AmTrust Financial Services has a market cap of $2.6 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate AmTrust Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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

On the positive front, 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% , were all gainers within the insurance industry with Aflac ( AFL) being today's featured insurance industry leader.

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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