The financial sector is made up of companies offering services that are broadly aimed at helping individuals, firms, and other organizations to improve their financial returns and manage their money. That list of services includes retail and commercial banking, insurance, accounting, asset management, credit cards, and brokerages, among other things. Well-known companies in the sector include JPMorgan Chase & Co, (JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), and BlackRock Inc. (BLK). The sector, as measured by the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF), has performed roughly on par with the S&P 500 year to date (YTD). XLF has returned 25.2% versus the S&P’s 24.8% as of November 7.

Best Value Financial Stocks

Here are the financial stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio in the sector. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows investors are paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

  • Unum Group: Unum provides disability insurance, group life insurance, and payroll-deducted voluntary benefits for employees primarily at U.S. corporations. The company was created in 1999 by the merger of Unum Corporation and The Provident Companies.
  • MetLife Inc: MetLife offers individual insurance products, group insurance, employee benefits, retail banking and other financial services. The company operates throughout the U.S. as well as in Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
  • Synchrony Financial: Synchrony Financial is a consumer financial services company offering a range of credit services, including private label credit cards, small- and medium-sized business credit products, and installment loans. The company recently entered a partnership with PayPal to offer a Venmo-branded credit card in 2020 to users of the Venmo payments app.

Fastest Growing Financial Stocks

These are the financial stocks in the S&P 500 with the highest year-over-year (YOY) earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.

  • MetLife Inc: See above for company description.
  • Assurant Inc: Assurant offers a range of risk management solutions in the housing and lifestyle markets, including renter’s insurance, auto insurance, credit insurance, and insurance for consumer electronics and appliances.
  • Synchrony Financial: See above for company description.

Financial Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the financial stocks in the S&P 500 that had the greatest total return over the past 12 months.

  • MSCI Inc: MSCI offers a broad range of tools and services to enhance investment decision-making, including indices, portfolio risk and performance analytics, as well as corporate governance products and services.
  • MarketAxess Holdings Inc: MarketAxess operates an electronic trading platform that provides investment industry professionals the ability to trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments. The company announced a nearly 30% gain in Q3 revenue to a record level of $131.6 million.
  • The Western Union Co: Western Union provides global money transfer services, including consumer-to-consumer money transfers and bill-paying services, and sells money orders.

Author: Matt Johnston

Source: Investopedia: Top Financial Stocks for November 2019

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