Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras rose 24 cents (1%) to $24.72 on light volume. Throughout the day, 5.3 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.37-$24.86 after having opened the day at $24.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.48. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), up 8.3%, China Gerui Advanced Materials Group ( CHOP), up 8.1%, General Steel Holdings Inc ( GSI), up 7.4%, and Claude Resources Inc ( CGR), up 6.7%.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. primarily engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production, refining, trade, and transportation businesses. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $164.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 28.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

On the negative front, Torch Energy Royalty ( TRU), down 18.8%, Recovery Energy Inc ( RECV), down 13.5%, Pacific Ethanol Inc ( PEIXD), down 9.3%, and Pacific Ethanol Inc ( PEIX), down 9.3%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) 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).