The basic materials sector closed the day up 3.2%. Oilsands Quest Inc ( BQI), Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), Anooraq Resources Corporation ( ANO), and GeoPetro Resources Company ( GPR) were all decliners today within the basic materials sector with Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO) being today's featured basic materials loser. Valero Energy Corporation fell 43 cents (-1.8%) to $23.25 on average volume. Throughout the day, 12 million shares of Valero Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 12.2 million shares.

Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Retail, and Ethanol. Valero Energy Corporation has a market cap of $13.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.1, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 19.3 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

On the positive front, Gold Reserve Inc ( GRZ), Semgroup ( SEMG), Silvercorp Metals Inc ( SVM), and Sutor Technology Group ( SUTR) were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Schlumberger ( SLB) being today's featured basic materials sector winner.

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).