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XL Group ( XL) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.2%. By the end of trading, XL Group rose $0.34 (1.1%) to $31.41 on light volume. Throughout the day, 1,281,198 shares of XL Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,118,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $31.05-$31.43 after having opened the day at $31.16 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $31.07. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), up 10.4%, Roberts Realty Investors ( RPI), up 6.7%, WVS Financial ( WVFC), up 6.5% and OptimumBank Holdings ( OPHC), up 6.0%.

XL GROUP Public Limited Company, an insurance and reinsurance company, through its subsidiaries, provides property, casualty, and specialty products to industrial, commercial, and professional firms; and insurance companies and other enterprises worldwide. XL Group has a market cap of $8.6 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 2.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate XL Group a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates XL Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Desarrolladora Homex SAB de CV ADR ( HXM), down 8.0%, Income Opportunity Realty Investors ( IOT), down 7.7%, IFM Investments ( CTC), down 7.1% and E*Trade Financial ( ETFC), down 6.5% , were all laggards within the financial sector with Charles Schwab ( SCHW) 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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