Williams Partners ( WPZ) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals loser. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1%. By the end of trading, Williams Partners fell $3.06 (-5.1%) to $57.45 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, one million shares of Williams Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 266,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $57.45-$60.90 after having opened the day at $60.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $60.51. Other company's within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: Pure Bioscience ( PURE), down 12.4%, Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 9.9%, Altair Nanotechnologies ( ALTI), down 6.5%, and Rentech ( RTK), down 6.3%.

Williams Partners L.P. focuses on natural gas transportation, gathering, treating and processing, storage, natural gas liquid fractionation, and oil transportation activities in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Gas Pipeline, and Midstream Gas and Liquids. Williams Partners has a market cap of $17.32 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.4, above the average chemicals industry P/E ratio of 14.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 29.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Williams Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the positive front, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 27.4%, Lizhan Environmental ( LZEN), up 15.4%, Gulf Resources ( GURE), up 12.8%, and Valhi Incorporated ( VHI), up 8.9%, were all gainers within the chemicals industry with LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB) being today's featured chemicals industry winner.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).
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