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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ConocoPhillips

(

COP

) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.4%. By the end of trading, ConocoPhillips rose 68 cents (1.2%) to $56.79 on average volume. Throughout the day, 11.6 million shares of ConocoPhillips exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $56.54-$57.13 after having opened the day at $56.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.11. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Synthesis Energy Sys

(

SYMX

), up 18.6%,

Zion Oil & Gas

(

ZN

), up 15.8%,

Thompson Creek Metals Company

(

TC

), up 12.3%, and

Timmins Gold

(

TGD

), up 11.5%.

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ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas and bitumen on a worldwide basis. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $68.44 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.4, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 6.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, four analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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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