Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (HIG): Today's Featured Insurance Winner

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Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) pushed the Insurance industry higher today making it today's featured insurance winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Hartford Financial Services Group rose $0.71 (2.0%) to $35.87 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 6,681,710 shares of Hartford Financial Services Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,865,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $35.04-$35.91 after having opened the day at $35.17 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.16. Other companies within the Insurance industry that increased today were: Universal Insurance Holdings ( UVE), up 6.5%, Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings ( BCRH), up 5.9%, MGIC Investment ( MTG), up 3.5% and StanCorp Financial Group ( SFG), up 2.8%.

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 $15.6 billion and is part of the financial sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 103.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Hartford Financial Services Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity 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, Willis Group Holdings ( WSH), down 5.1%, Axis Capital Holdings ( AXS), down 2.5%, Triple-S Management ( GTS), down 2.2% and Hilltop Holdings ( HTH), down 1.9% , were all laggards within the insurance industry with Aflac ( AFL) being today's insurance industry laggard.

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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