Monsanto Company

(

MON

) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 2.4%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company rose $1.28 (1.5%) to $86.88 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.5 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $86.03-$87.12 after having opened the day at $86.12 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $85.60. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were:

Green Plains Renewable Energy

(

GPRE

), up 17.7%,

Ferro

(

FOE

), up 12.1%,

LyondellBasell Industries

(

LYB

), up 8.8%, and

Braskem

(

BAK

), up 8.3%.

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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 $45.19 billion and is part of the

basic materials

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.2, above the average chemicals industry P/E ratio of 21 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 22.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust 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 expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider

Materials Select Sector SPDR

(

XLB

) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd

(

SBM

).

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