Monsanto Company



) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials loser. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company fell $1.31 (-1.9%) to $69.38 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3.2 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $69.10-$70.84 after having opened the day at $70.77 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $70.69. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were:

Alon USA Energy Inc



), down 13.1%,

China Green Agriculture Inc



), down 12.7%,

Oilsands Quest Inc



), down 12.1%, and

Lihua International Inc



), down 8.8%.

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $38.22 billion and is part of the


industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.1, equal to the average chemicals industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front,

Royale Energy Inc



), up 12.7%,

InterOil Corporation



), up 10.2%,

Entree Gold Inc



), up 9.5%, and

Extorre Gold Mines



), up 9.2%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with

Newmont Mining Corporation



) 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