Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model





) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Vale rose 64 cents (3.4%) to $19.70 on average volume. Throughout the day, 23.1 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17.8 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $19.29-$19.74 after having opened the day at $19.35 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $19.06. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat



), up 25%,

China Gerui Advanced Materials Group



), up 19.9%,

Torch Energy Royalty



), up 14.8%, and

ZaZa Energy



), up 13%.

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Vale S.A. engages in the exploration, production, and sale of basic metals in Brazil and internationally. The company is also involved in energy, logistics, and steel businesses. Vale has a market cap of $134.45 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 12% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are two analysts that rate Vale a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vale 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 and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

On the negative front,



TheStreet Recommends


), down 22.5%,




), down 17.2%,

Gasco Energy



), down 10.5%, and

Kimber Resources



), down 10%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with

Baker Hughes



) 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




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