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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


Valero Energy Corporation



) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, Valero Energy Corporation rose $1.53 (5.2%) to $30.77 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 19.7 million shares of Valero Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.8 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $29.64-$31 after having opened the day at $29.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.24. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were:

Altair Nanotechnologies



), up 14.1%,

Almaden Minerals



), up 11.8%,




), up 10.1%, and

Pacific Ethanol



), up 9.7%.

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Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Ethanol, and Retail. Valero Energy Corporation has a market cap of $15.9 billion and is part of the


industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10, above the average energy industry P/E ratio of 9.8 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 38.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Valero Energy Corporation a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy Corporation as a


. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the negative front,

Lizhan Environmental



), down 36%,

Gasco Energy



), down 15.3%,

China Gerui Advanced Materials Group



), down 10.9%, and

Timberline Resources Corporation



), down 10.5%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with




) 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