Occidental Petroleum Corporation

(

OXY

) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 3.9%. By the end of trading, Occidental Petroleum Corporation rose $3.96 (4.6%) to $90.65 on light volume. Throughout the day, four million shares of Occidental Petroleum Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $88.99-$91.25 after having opened the day at $89.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $86.69. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Commercial Metals Company

(

CMC

), up 23.8%,

Mines Management Inc

(

MGN

), up 22.1%,

Universal Stainless & Alloy Products

(

USAP

), up 18.1%, and

Uranerz Energy Corporation

(

URZ

), up 16.3%.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an oil and gas exploration and production company primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Oil and Gas; Chemical; and Midstream, Marketing, and Other. Occidental Petroleum Corporation has a market cap of $74.38 billion and is part of the

energy

industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.5, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 11.8 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 11.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Occidental as a

buy

. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the negative front,

Recovery Energy Inc

(

RECV

), down 18.5%,

Ternium

(

TX

), down 17%,

Royale Energy Inc

(

ROYL

), down 12.1%, and

Willbros Group Inc

(

WG

), down 10.7%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with

Cheniere Energy Inc

(

LNG

) being today's basic materials sector loser.

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

(

XLB

) while those bearish on the basic materials sector could consider

ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd

(

SBM

).

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