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 78.22 points (-0.4%) at 17,774 as of Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,227 issues advancing vs. 1,763 declining with 144 unchanged.

The Chemicals industry as a whole closed the day up 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.2%. Top gainers within the Chemicals industry included

Methes Energies International

(

MEIL

), up 7.7%,

Lightbridge

(

LTBR

), up 1.5%,

NL Industries

(

NL

), up 3.9%,

Synthesis Energy Sys

(

SYMX

), up 8.1% and

Gevo

(

GEVO

), up 1.8%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

Gevo

(

GEVO

) is one of the companies that pushed the Chemicals industry higher today. Gevo was up $0.01 (1.8%) to $0.33 on average volume. Throughout the day, 710,508 shares of Gevo exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 903,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.32-$0.35 after having opened the day at $0.33 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.32.

Gevo, Inc., a renewable chemicals and biofuels company, focuses primarily on the production and sale of isobutanol and related products from renewable feedstocks. Gevo has a market cap of $36.9 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 77.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Gevo a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Gevo as a

sell

. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on GEVO go as follows:

  • GEVO's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 78.89%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, GEVO INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$7.39 million or 41.06% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.72%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.68, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, GEVO has a quick ratio of 1.52, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • GEVO INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, GEVO INC continued to lose money by earning -$1.49 versus -$2.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.68 versus -$1.49).

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Gevo Ratings Report

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

At the close,

Synthesis Energy Sys

(

SYMX

) was up $0.06 (8.1%) to $0.84 on average volume. Throughout the day, 286,294 shares of Synthesis Energy Sys exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 266,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.75-$0.85 after having opened the day at $0.78 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.78.

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc., a development stage energy and gasification technology company, provides various proprietary gasification technology systems and solutions to the energy and chemical industries worldwide. Synthesis Energy Sys has a market cap of $63.1 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 30.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Synthesis Energy Sys a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Synthesis Energy Sys as a

sell

. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been unimpressive growth in net income over time.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on SYMX go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Energy Equipment & Services industry average. The net income has decreased by 8.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from -$4.16 million to -$4.52 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market, SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$1.66 million or 40.38% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 17.50%.
  • SYMX has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, SYMX has a quick ratio of 1.75, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Investors have driven up the company's shares by 28.57% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in SYMX do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

Synthesis Energy Sys Ratings Report

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

NL Industries

(

NL

) was another company that pushed the Chemicals industry higher today. NL Industries was up $0.33 (3.9%) to $8.75 on average volume. Throughout the day, 12,451 shares of NL Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $8.32-$8.75 after having opened the day at $8.32 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.42.

NL Industries, Inc., through its subsidiary, CompX International Inc., operates in the component products industry in the United States and internationally. NL Industries has a market cap of $395.3 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 24.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate NL Industries a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates NL Industries as a

sell

. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on NL go as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for NL INDUSTRIES is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.22%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 52.46% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • NL's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 31.24%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, NL INDUSTRIES's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NL INDUSTRIES reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NL INDUSTRIES swung to a loss, reporting -$1.13 versus $1.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.55 versus -$1.13).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Services & Supplies industry. The net income increased by 333.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$5.94 million to $13.89 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here:

NL Industries Ratings Report

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

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.