The basic materials sector closed the day down 2.5%. Synthesis Energy Sys Inc ( SYMX), GeoMet Inc ( GMET), Lake Shore Gold ( LSG), and Nanophase Technologies Corporation ( NANX) were all winners today within the basic materials sector with Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM) being today's featured basic materials winner. Newmont Mining Corporation rose 52 cents (0.8%) to $63.04 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7.6 million shares of Newmont Mining Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.3 million shares.

Newmont Mining Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and production of gold and copper properties. The company's assets or operations are located in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico. Newmont Mining Corporation has a market cap of $30 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.8, below the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 13.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Newmont as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Lucas Energy Inc ( LEI), WSP Holdings ( WH), Uranium Resources Inc ( URRE), and CF Industries Holdings Inc ( CF) were all losers within the basic materials sector with Williams Cos Inc ( WMB) being today's basic materials sector Loser Spotlight stock.

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).