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

.

Apache Corporation

(

APA

) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Apache Corporation fell $1.44 (-1.6%) to $89.21 on average volume. Throughout the day, four million shares of Apache Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.7 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $88.48-$90.73 after having opened the day at $90.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.65. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were:

BioFuel Energy Corporation

(

BIOF

), down 13.7%,

Royale Energy

(

ROYL

), down 11.1%,

China Precision Steel

(

CPSL

), down 10%, and

Primero Mining

(

PPP

), down 8.9%.

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Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids. Apache Corporation has a market cap of $36.03 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.1, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate Apache Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apache Corporation as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front,

Geokinetics

(

GOK

), up 32%,

Cereplast

(

CERP

), up 15.5%,

Lucas Energy

(

LEI

), up 14.2%, and

Northern Dynasty Minerals

(

NAK

), up 14.1%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with

LyondellBasell Industries

(

LYB

) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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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