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National Oilwell Varco



) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.2%. By the end of trading, National Oilwell Varco rose $5.98 (8.9%) to $73.31 on average volume. Throughout the day, 6.7 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $68.89-$73.50 after having opened the day at $68.89 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $67.33. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Pioneer Drilling Company



), up 16.9%,

Nevsun Resources



), up 15%,

China Natural Resources



), up 12.7%, and

InterOil Corporation



), up 12.3%.

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National Oilwell Varco, Inc. designs, constructs, manufactures, and sells systems, components, and products for oil and gas drilling and production, as well as provides oilfield services and supplies, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $28.88 billion and is part of the


industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.1, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 17 analysts that rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a


. 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 attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front,




), down 25.9%,

Novagold Resources



), down 25.3%,

BioFuel Energy Corporation



), down 15.9%, and

Carbo Ceramics



), down 15.1%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with

Royal Dutch Shell PLC ADR Class B



) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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