BP

(

BP

) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, BP rose 27 cents (0.7%) to $41.82 on average volume. Throughout the day, 5.2 million shares of BP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $41.71-$42.05 after having opened the day at $41.82 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.55. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Jaguar Mining

(

JAG

), up 24.4%,

Clean Diesel Technologies

(

CDTI

), up 20%,

Lightbridge

(

LTBR

), up 12.4%, and

Platinum Group Metal

(

PLG

), up 11.8%.

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BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. BP has a market cap of $129.68 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.1, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 5.3 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate BP a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BP as a

hold

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and generally poor debt management.

On the negative front,

Lufkin Industries

(

LUFK

), down 21.4%,

TGC Industries

(

TGE

), down 17.1%,

Cereplast

(

CERP

), down 16.9%, and

General Steel Holdings

(

GSI

), down 11.8%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with

Pioneer Natural Resources Company

(

PXD

) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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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