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Monsanto Company (MON): Today's Featured Chemicals Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model

Monsanto Company (MON) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.1%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company fell $1.67 (-1.6%) to $102.12 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2,700,133 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,521,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $101.53-$104.09 after having opened the day at $104.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.79. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: BioFuel Energy Corporation (BIOF), down 6.5%, China Green Agriculture (CGA), down 4.8%, Albemarle (ALB), down 4.1% and Verenium Corporation (VRNM), down 3.9%.

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Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $56.2 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Flexible Solutions International (FSI), down 19.6%, PPG Industries (PPG), down 6.2%, Rentech (RTK), down 5.4% and Gulf Resources (GURE), down 4.8% , were all gainers within the chemicals industry with CF Industries Holdings (CF) being today's featured chemicals industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd (SBM).

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