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HCP ( HCP) pushed the Financial sector higher today making it today's featured financial winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, HCP rose $0.70 (1.7%) to $41.23 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,301,201 shares of HCP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,179,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $40.41-$41.33 after having opened the day at $40.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.53. Other companies within the Financial sector that increased today were: LiqTech International ( LIQT), up 13.0%, Elbit Imaging ( EMITF), up 5.1%, Broadway Financial ( BYFC), up 5.1% and American Spectrum Realty ( AQQ), up 5.0%.

HCP, Inc. is an independent hybrid real estate investment trust. The fund invests in real estate markets of the United States. HCP has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 11.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate HCP a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates HCP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Fauquier Bankshares ( FBSS), down 10.2%, China Ceramics ( CCCL), down 9.3%, Vestin Realty Mortgage II ( VRTB), down 8.0% and Carolina Trust Bank ( CART), down 7.2% , were all laggards within the financial sector with Credicorp ( BAP) 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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