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Tickers in this Article: ALTE, IFN, MKL, PTP, ASPS, AXS, AWH
After the morning's trading, the Nasdaq has risen 0.1%, the S&P 500 is trading down 0.1% and the Dow has been relatively flat. The financial sector is the category of stocks containing firms that provide financial services to commercial and retail customers. This sector includes banks, investment funds, insurance companies and real estate. Financial services perform best in low interest rate environments. A large portion of this sector generates revenue from mortgages and loans, which gain value as interest rates drop. Furthermore, when the business cycle is in an upswing, the financial sector benefits from additional investments. Improved economic conditions usually lead to more capital projects and increased personal investing. New projects require financing, which usually leads to a larger number of loans.

The biggest movers in the Financial sector (XLF) (+0.1%) are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Alterra Capital (Nasdaq:ALTE)$2.22 billion+24.4%
India Fund (NYSE:IFN)$892 million-9.3%
Markel (NYSE:MKL)$4.68 billion-7.4%
Platinum Underwriters (NYSE:PTP)$1.48 billion+4%
Altisource Portfolio Solutions (Nasdaq:ASPS)$2.19 billion-3.6%
Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS)$4.29 billion+3.3%
Allied World Assurance Co (NYSE:AWH)$2.77 billion+2.2%
Software Summary: Stock Screener

Alterra Capital (Nasdaq:ALTE) is trading at $28.80 per share, a significant rise of 24.4%. At 6.2 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 21.6 times the current daily average.

India Fund (NYSE:IFN) has decreased to $20.85 per share, a 9.3% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 233,819 shares.

Markel (NYSE:MKL) is down 7.4% to reach $450.18 per share. The company's volume is currently 188,364 shares for the day, 20.5 times the average volume over the last three months.

After an increase of 4%, Platinum Underwriters (NYSE:PTP) has reached a current price of $47. The company's volume is currently 158,864 shares. This is more trading activity than there was yesterday.

Altisource Portfolio Solutions (Nasdaq:ASPS) has fallen 3.6% and is currently trading at $90.42 per share. At 182,958 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.6 times its current daily average.

Axis Capital (NYSE:AXS) has increased to a share price of $36.23, a 3.3% rise. This morning, the company is trading a volume of one million shares.

Allied World Assurance Co (NYSE:AWH) has risen 2.2% and is currently trading at $80.40 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 136,071 shares, in keeping with the average volume over the past three months.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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