Nalco

(

NLC

) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.6%. By the end of trading, Nalco rose 38 cents (1%) to $37.64 on light volume. Throughout the day, 536,336 shares of Nalco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.4 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $37.03-$37.74 after having opened the day at $37.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.26. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were:

Pure Bioscience Inc

(

PURE

), up 6%,

Pacific Ethanol Inc

(

PEIX

), up 4.1%,

Pacific Ethanol Inc

(

PEIXD

), up 4.1%, and

Sino Clean Energy Inc

(

SCEI

), up 3.5%.

Nalco Holding Company engages in the manufacture and sale of specialized service chemical programs worldwide. Nalco has a market cap of $5.2 billion and is part of the

basic materials

sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, equal to the average chemicals industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nalco as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, 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 negative front,

TPC Group Inc

(

TPCG

), down 5.6%,

Gevo Inc

(

GEVO

), down 5.5%,

OM Group Inc

(

OMG

), down 3.9%, and

Ferro

(

FOE

), down 3.6%, were all losers within the chemicals industry with

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc

(

POT

) being today's chemicals industry loser.

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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