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The Insurance industry as a whole closed the day up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which was down 1.6%. Laggards within the Insurance industry included Atlantic American ( AAME), down 3.9%, First Acceptance ( FAC), down 3.9%, Kingstone Companies ( KINS), down 4.7%, 1347 Property Insurance Holdings ( PIH), down 3.1% and Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS), down 1.8%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the industry lower today:

Principal Financial Group ( PFG) is one of the companies that pushed the Insurance industry lower today. Principal Financial Group was down $0.85 (1.7%) to $48.49 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,743,557 shares of Principal Financial Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,075,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $48.47-$49.87 after having opened the day at $49.46 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.34.

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services. It operates through Retirement and Investor Services, Principal Global Investors, Principal International, and U.S. Insurance Solutions segments. Principal Financial Group has a market cap of $14.7 billion and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate Principal Financial Group a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Principal Financial Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PFG go as follows:

  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GRP INC has improved earnings per share by 37.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GRP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.96 versus $2.60 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.25 versus $2.96).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 36.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $230.60 million to $314.60 million.
  • PFG's revenue growth trails the industry average of 25.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although PFG's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Principal Financial Group Ratings Report

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At the close, Kingsway Financial Services ( KFS) was down $0.11 (1.8%) to $5.91 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3,836 shares of Kingsway Financial Services exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 36,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $5.89-$6.00 after having opened the day at $6.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.02.

Kingsway Financial Services Inc., through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the provision of property and casualty insurance products for individuals and businesses in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Insurance Underwriting and Insurance Services. Kingsway Financial Services has a market cap of $97.9 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 54.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Kingsway Financial Services as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been very high debt management risk by most measures.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KFS go as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.38 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 44.12% is the gross profit margin for KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -9.71% is in-line with the industry average.
  • KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. During the past fiscal year, KINGSWAY FINANCIAL SVCS INC continued to lose money by earning -$3.17 versus -$3.95 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 52.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$10.29 million to -$4.92 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Kingsway Financial Services Ratings Report

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Kingstone Companies ( KINS) was another company that pushed the Insurance industry lower today. Kingstone Companies was down $0.37 (4.7%) to $7.46 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 27,472 shares of Kingstone Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $7.44-$7.75 after having opened the day at $7.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.83.

Kingstone Companies, Inc., through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company, underwrites property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York. Kingstone Companies has a market cap of $57.7 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 8.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Kingstone Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kingstone Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on KINS go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 25.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 41.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • KINS has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 800.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 50.66% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, KINS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • KINGSTONE COS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, KINGSTONE COS INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.51 versus $0.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.68 versus $0.51).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 1892.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.07 million to $1.36 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Kingstone Companies Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.