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





) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Ashland rose 71 cents (1%) to $69.86 on average volume. Throughout the day, 680,407 shares of Ashland exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 756,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $68.92-$70.45 after having opened the day at $69.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $69.15. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were:

Clean Diesel Technologies



), up 13%,

Pure Bioscience



), up 9.8%,




), up 5.3%, and

Omnova Solutions



), up 5%.

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Ashland Inc. operates as a specialty chemicals company in the United States and internationally. It operates through four segments: Specialty Ingredients, Water Technologies, Performance Materials, and Consumer Markets. Ashland has a market cap of $5.54 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 146.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 21% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Ashland a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ashland as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front,




), down 9.9%,

Synthesis Energy Sys



), down 8.3%,




), down 6.2%, and




), down 5.5%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with

Huntsman Corporation



) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

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



) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd




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