El Paso Corporation

(

EP

) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, El Paso Corporation rose 30 cents (1.2%) to $24.84 on light volume. Throughout the day, 4.1 million shares of El Paso Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.41-$24.99 after having opened the day at $24.42 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.54. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Royale Energy Inc

(

ROYL

), up 20.2%,

Lucas Energy Inc

(

LEI

), up 18.9%,

Oilsands Quest Inc

(

BQI

), up 15.1%, and

Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat

(

AMCF

), up 11.3%.

El Paso Corporation operates in the natural gas transmission, and exploration and production sectors of the energy industry primarily in the United States. El Paso Corporation has a market cap of $19.2 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 613.5, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 622.5 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 78.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates El Paso as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front,

China Precision Steel Inc

(

CPSL

), down 9.9%,

Magnum Hunter Resources

(

MHR

), down 7.3%,

Golden Star Resources

(

GSS

), down 6.8%, and

Entree Gold Inc

(

EGI

), down 6.8%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with

BP

(

BP

) being today's basic materials sector loser.

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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