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 or Stephanie Link.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

(

^DJI

) trading down 34 points (-0.2%) at 18,106 as of Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, 12:10 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,298 issues advancing vs. 1,669 declining with 161 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 1.0% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include

Tenaris

(

TS

), down 3.6%,

Pioneer Natural Resources

(

PXD

), down 2.4%,

Canadian Natural Resources

(

CNQ

), down 1.8%,

ArcelorMittal

(

MT

), down 1.9% and

Statoil ASA

(

STO

), down 2.0%. Top gainers within the sector include

Valero Energy

(

VLO

), up 2.5%,

Phillips 66

(

PSX

), up 1.3% and

CF Industries Holdings

(

CF

), up 1.1%.

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

3.

Alcoa

(

AA

) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Alcoa is down $0.32 (-2.0%) to $15.47 on light volume. Thus far, 6.8 million shares of Alcoa exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 18.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $15.38-$15.64 after having opened the day at $15.63 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.79.

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

Alcoa Inc. produces and manages primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company operates in four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Global Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. Alcoa has a market cap of $18.9 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Alcoa a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Alcoa

as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full

Alcoa Ratings Report

now.

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

2. As of noon trading,

Freeport-McMoRan

(

FCX

) is down $0.54 (-2.5%) to $20.74 on average volume. Thus far, 7.7 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 19.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $20.44-$21.07 after having opened the day at $21.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.28.

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

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., a natural resource company, is engaged in the acquisition of mineral assets, and oil and natural gas resources. The company primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt, silver, and other metals, as well as oil and gas. Freeport-McMoRan has a market cap of $21.9 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 8.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Freeport-McMoRan

as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself. Get the full

Freeport-McMoRan Ratings Report

now.

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

1. As of noon trading,

Exxon Mobil Corporation

(

XOM

) is down $0.86 (-1.0%) to $89.06 on light volume. Thus far, 3.9 million shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 16.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $88.82-$89.40 after having opened the day at $89.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $89.92.

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

Exxon Mobil Corporation explores and produces for crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2013, the company had approximately 37,661 gross and 31,823 net operated wells. Exxon Mobil Corporation has a market cap of $378.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Exxon Mobil Corporation a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates

Exxon Mobil Corporation

as a

buy

. The company's strongest point has been its strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full

Exxon Mobil Corporation Ratings Report

now.

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

If you are interested in one of these 3 stocks, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the basic materials sector could consider

Materials Select Sector SPDR

(

XLB

) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd

(

SBM

).

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