Eni SpA ( E) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials loser. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1%. By the end of trading, Eni SpA fell 87 cents (-2.2%) to $39.27 on light volume. Throughout the day, 740,321 shares of Eni SpA exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $39.05-$39.90 after having opened the day at $39.61 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.14. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Delta Petroleum Corporation ( DPTR), down 39.4%, Recovery Energy ( RECV), down 17.2%, Mission NewEnergy ( MNEL), down 16.3%, and Cano Petroleum ( CFW), down 15.6%.

Eni SpA, an integrated energy company, engages in the exploration, production, transportation, transformation, and marketing of oil and natural gas. Eni SpA has a market cap of $72.67 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.1, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 11.9 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 8.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are three analysts that rate Eni SpA a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Eni SpA as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 27.4%, Cobalt International Energy ( CIE), up 22.2%, Lizhan Environmental ( LZEN), up 15.4%, and Gulf Resources ( GURE), up 12.8%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Williams Companies ( WMB) 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).