3 Financial Stocks Driving The 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.

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 59 points (-0.4%) at 16,657 as of Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,380 issues advancing vs. 1,556 declining with 176 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits down 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include KB Financial Group ( KB), up 2.2%, Shinhan Financial Group ( SHG), up 1.6%, Weyerhaeuser ( WY), up 1.3%, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ( MTU), up 1.2% and HCP ( HCP), up 1.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include KeyCorp ( KEY), down 3.1%, Signature Bank ( SBNY), down 2.9%, E*Trade Financial ( ETFC), down 2.9%, National Bank of Greece ( NBG), down 2.3% and Regions Financial ( RF), down 2.3%.

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

3. Ares Capital Corporation ( ARCC) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Ares Capital Corporation is up $0.40 (2.4%) to $16.90 on average volume. Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Ares Capital Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $16.59-$16.93 after having opened the day at $16.66 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.50.

Ares Capital Corporation specializes in acquisition, recapitalization, mezzanine debt, restructurings, rescue financing, and leveraged buyout transactions of middle market companies. It also makes growth capital and general refinancing. Ares Capital Corporation has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Ares Capital Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ares Capital Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Ares Capital 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.

2. As of noon trading, Progressive ( PGR) is up $0.24 (1.0%) to $25.28 on heavy volume. Thus far, 7.1 million shares of Progressive exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $25.16-$25.60 after having opened the day at $25.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.03.

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 has a market cap of $14.8 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 8.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Progressive a buy, 6 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Progressive 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, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Progressive 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, Ventas ( VTR) is up $0.58 (0.9%) to $67.20 on light volume. Thus far, 466,792 shares of Ventas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $66.36-$67.24 after having opened the day at $66.73 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.62.

Ventas, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, management, financing, and leasing of properties in the healthcare industry. It invests in the real estate markets of the United States and Canada. Ventas has a market cap of $19.7 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are up 16.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate Ventas a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ventas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Ventas 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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