3 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.

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 33 points (0.2%) at 16,455 as of Friday, March 7, 2014, 12:00 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,158 issues advancing vs. 1,766 declining with 168 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits down 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include E-House China Holdings ( EJ), up 7.3%, HDFC Bank ( HDB), up 6.2%, Regions Financial Corporation ( RF), up 2.1%, KeyCorp ( KEY), up 2.0% and Morgan Stanley ( MS), up 1.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include KB Financial Group ( KB), down 3.4%, Digital Realty ( DLR), down 3.2%, Realty Income Corporation ( O), down 3.0%, Aegon ( AEG), down 2.2% and Ventas ( VTR), down 2.1%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Discover Financial Services ( DFS) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Discover Financial Services is up $0.80 (1.4%) to $59.57 on light volume. Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Discover Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $58.80-$59.61 after having opened the day at $59.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.77.

Discover Financial Services, a bank holding company, provides direct banking and payment services in the United States. It operates in two segments, Direct Banking and Payment Services. Discover Financial Services has a market cap of $27.5 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are up 4.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 14 analysts who rate Discover Financial Services a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Discover Financial Services as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Discover Financial Services 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, Prudential Financial ( PRU) is up $2.33 (2.7%) to $89.10 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.5 million shares of Prudential Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $87.93-$89.77 after having opened the day at $87.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $86.77.

Prudential Financial, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides a range of insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services to both individual and institutional customers in the United States and internationally. Prudential Financial has a market cap of $39.6 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 6.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 10 analysts who rate Prudential Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Prudential Financial as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Prudential Financial 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, MetLife ( MET) is up $0.86 (1.6%) to $53.23 on average volume. Thus far, 2.4 million shares of MetLife exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $52.85-$53.61 after having opened the day at $52.91 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.37.

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs in the United States, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. MetLife has a market cap of $58.5 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 14 analysts who rate MetLife a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MetLife as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, solid stock price performance and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full MetLife 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 3 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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