5 Stocks Driving The Financial Sector Higher

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.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 4 points (0.0%) at 15,449 as of Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 771 issues advancing vs. 2,156 declining with 142 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits down 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include National Interstate Corporation ( NATL), up 30.8%, Radian Group ( RDN), up 3.9%, Genworth Financial ( GNW), up 3.4%, ING Groep N.V ( ING), up 2.5% and Assured Guaranty ( AGO), up 2.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Axis Capital Holdings ( AXS), down 5.1%, CBL & Associates Properties ( CBL), down 4.2%, LaSalle Hotel Properties ( LHO), down 3.9%, Financial Engines ( FNGN), down 3.9% and Icahn ( IEP), down 3.5%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. RenaissanceRe Holdings ( RNR) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, RenaissanceRe Holdings is up $1.66 (1.8%) to $91.94 on heavy volume. Thus far, 645,469 shares of RenaissanceRe Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 624,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $90.58-$94.93 after having opened the day at $92.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.28.

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, provides reinsurance and insurance coverages and related services in the United States and internationally. RenaissanceRe Holdings has a market cap of $4.0 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate RenaissanceRe Holdings a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates RenaissanceRe Holdings 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, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full RenaissanceRe Holdings Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

4. As of noon trading, Progressive Corporation ( PGR) is up $0.18 (0.8%) to $22.80 on light volume. Thus far, 1.0 million shares of Progressive Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $22.57-$22.84 after having opened the day at $22.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $22.62.

The Progressive Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides personal and commercial automobile insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance products and related services primarily in the United States. Progressive Corporation has a market cap of $13.6 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 17.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Progressive Corporation a buy, 8 analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Progressive Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, impressive record of earnings per share growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Progressive Corporation Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

3. As of noon trading, M&T Bank ( MTB) is up $0.64 (0.6%) to $111.48 on light volume. Thus far, 253,543 shares of M&T Bank exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $110.46-$111.53 after having opened the day at $110.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $110.84.

M&T Bank Corporation operates as the holding company for M&T Bank that provide commercial and retail banking services to individuals, corporations, and other businesses and institutions. M&T Bank has a market cap of $14.2 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 4.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate M&T Bank a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates M&T Bank as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full M&T Bank Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

2. As of noon trading, Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) is up $0.24 (0.7%) to $33.06 on average volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Hartford Financial Services Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.77-$33.24 after having opened the day at $32.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.82.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services to individual and business customers primarily in the United States and Japan. Hartford Financial Services Group has a market cap of $14.4 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 9.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 10 analysts who rate Hartford Financial Services Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hartford Financial Services Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Hartford Financial Services Group Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

1. As of noon trading, Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) is up $0.13 (0.6%) to $20.72 on average volume. Thus far, 3.6 million shares of Fifth Third Bancorp exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $20.46-$20.74 after having opened the day at $20.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $20.59.

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services company in the United States. The company operates through four segments: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Investment Advisors. Fifth Third Bancorp has a market cap of $18.1 billion and is part of the banking industry. Shares are down 2.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 8 analysts who rate Fifth Third Bancorp a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Fifth Third Bancorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Fifth Third Bancorp Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, 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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