3 Stocks Driving The Financial 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.

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 152 points (-0.9%) at 17,388 as of Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 923 issues advancing vs. 2,100 declining with 141 unchanged.

The Financial sector currently sits down 0.8% versus the S&P 500, which is down 1.1%. Top gainers within the sector include National Bank of Greece ( NBG), up 10.9%, American Tower ( AMT), up 1.2%, Prudential Financial ( PRU), up 0.8% and American International Group ( AIG), up 0.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include PHH ( PHH), down 26.9%, Lamar Advertising ( LAMR), down 11.0%, Financial Engines ( FNGN), down 10.8%, Genworth Financial ( GNW), down 9.6% and Springleaf Holdings ( LEAF), down 8.9%.

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

3. Manulife Financial ( MFC) is one of the companies pushing the Financial sector higher today. As of noon trading, Manulife Financial is up $0.14 (0.8%) to $17.76 on average volume. Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Manulife Financial exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $17.63-$17.95 after having opened the day at $17.79 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $17.63.

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Manulife Financial Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides financial protection and wealth management products and services to individual, corporate, and business customers primarily in Asia, Canada, and the United States. Manulife Financial has a market cap of $34.8 billion and is part of the insurance industry. Shares are down 7.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Manulife Financial a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Manulife Financial 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, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Manulife Financial Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, American Realty Capital Properties ( ARCP) is up $0.18 (2.1%) to $8.85 on heavy volume. Thus far, 4.8 million shares of American Realty Capital Properties exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $8.60-$9.08 after having opened the day at $8.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.67.

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American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. owns and acquires single tenant, freestanding commercial real estate that is net leased on a medium-term basis, primarily to investment grade credit rated and other creditworthy tenants. The company principally invests in retail and office properties. American Realty Capital Properties has a market cap of $7.8 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 3.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates American Realty Capital Properties a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates American Realty Capital Properties as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself. Get the full American Realty Capital Properties Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Annaly Capital Management ( NLY) is up $0.14 (1.4%) to $10.02 on heavy volume. Thus far, 9.5 million shares of Annaly Capital Management exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $10.01-$10.13 after having opened the day at $10.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $9.88.

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Annaly Capital Management, Inc. owns a portfolio of real estate related investments in the United States. Annaly Capital Management has a market cap of $9.4 billion and is part of the real estate industry. Shares are down 8.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Annaly Capital Management a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Annaly Capital Management as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Annaly Capital Management Ratings Report now.

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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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