) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials loser. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Gerdau fell 31 cents (-4.2%) to $7.07 on average volume. Throughout the day, 9.9 million shares of Gerdau exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.8 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $7.03-$7.28 after having opened the day at $7.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.38. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were:

Recovery Energy Inc



), down 14.6%,

Pure Bioscience Inc



), down 14%,

BioFuel Energy Corporation



), down 13.3%, and

Samson Oil & Gas



), down 11.8%.

Gerdau S.A. engages in the production and sale of steel products in Brazil and internationally. Gerdau has a market cap of $12.01 billion and is part of the

metals & mining

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.8, below the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 9.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 47.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gerdau as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the positive front,

Uranium Resources Inc



), up 21.6%,

Qiao Xing Universal Resources Inc



), up 19.7%,

Willbros Group Inc



), up 15.5%, and

HyperDynamics Corporation



), up 8.6%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with

Anadarko Petroleum



) being today's featured basic materials sector winner.

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



) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd