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

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CF Industries Holdings

(

CF

) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1%. By the end of trading, CF Industries Holdings fell $3.94 (-1.9%) to $203.56 on light volume. Throughout the day, 558,473 shares of CF Industries Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $202.45-$207.19 after having opened the day at $207.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $207.50. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were:

Altair Nanotechnologies

(

ALTI

), down 7.5%,

Pure Bioscience

(

PURE

), down 6.1%,

Green Plains Renewable Energy

(

GPRE

), down 5.6%, and

Ikonics Corporation

(

IKNX

), down 4.6%.

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CF Industries Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, CF Industries, Inc., manufactures and distributes nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products, serving agricultural and industrial customers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Nitrogen and Phosphate. CF Industries Holdings has a market cap of $12.97 billion and is part of the

basic materials

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.9, equal to the average chemicals industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 42.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate CF Industries Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CF Industries Holdings as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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

(

XLB

) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd

(

SBM

).

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