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 2.4%. By the end of trading, El Paso Corporation rose 16 cents (0.6%) to $25.14 on light volume. Throughout the day, 10 million shares of El Paso Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.89-$25.25 after having opened the day at $24.97 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.98. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Anooraq Resources Corporation

(

ANO

), up 13.9%,

Cano Petroleum

(

CFW

), up 11%,

Synthesis Energy Sys

(

SYMX

), up 7.5%, and

Ossen Innovation

(

OSN

), up 6.6%.

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 $19.07 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 618.2, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 81.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are four analysts that rate El Paso Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates El Paso Corporation 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,

Lizhan Environmental

(

LZEN

), down 18.3%,

Blue Dolphin Energy Company

(

BDCO

), down 13.9%,

Eldorado Gold

(

EGO

), down 13.6%, and

Minco Gold Corporation

(

MGH

), down 12.3%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with

Schlumberger

(

SLB

) 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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