4. Celanese ( CE)

Company profile: Celanese is a major integrated chemical company focusing primarily on acetyl chemicals, which are the building blocks for end products such as food preservatives, adhesives and paints. It also makes advanced engineered polymers that are primarily used in automobiles. It is a leader in specialty chemicals, up 9% this year.

Investor takeaway: Up 10% this year, Celanese has a five-year average annual return of 13.5%. S&P has it "buy" rated with four stars.

5. Reliance Steel & Aluminum ( RS)

Company profile: Reliance Steel & Aluminum is the largest metal service center in the U.S., providing metal processing services for carbon and stainless steel, aluminum, and alloys

Investor takeaway: Up 9% this year, it has a three-year average annual return of 35%. S&P has it rated "strong buy" with five stars.

6. Praxair ( PX)

Company profile: Praxair makes and sells industrial gases worldwide. Industrial gases are an integral part of many companies' business supplies.

Investor takeaway: Shares are down 0.6% this year, but over 10 years, it has a 15% average annual return. S&P, which rates it a "buy," with four stars, has a $115 price target on it, which is a 4.5% premium to its current price. It's a small-cap company at a $33 billion market value.

7. Ball ( BLL)

Company profile: Ball is one of the largest producers of metal beverage cans in the world. It also sells high-tech equipment to the aerospace industry. Ball is an international company with the leading market share in China, and a growing presence in Brazil. Its sub-sector, metal and glass containers, has risen 10.7% this year.

Investor takeaway: Up 10% this year, its shares have a 10-year average annual return of 15%. S&P gives it a "buy" rating with four stars.

8. Mosaic ( MOS)

Company profile: Mosaic is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the global agriculture industry. Mosaic owns a worldwide distribution system with networks in the important and fast-growing markets of Brazil, India and China. Its sub-sector, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, has jumped 15% this year.

Investor takeaway: Up 11% this year, Mosaic shares have a 10-year average annual return of almost 17%. S&P gives it a "buy" rating with four stars.

9. Neenah Paper ( NP)

Company profile: Neenah is a leading international producer and distributor of premium fine papers and technical products used in filtration, tape, abrasives and other specialty markets. Its sub-sector, paper products, is up 4.3% this year.

Investor takeaway: Neenah Paper's stock has advanced 6.5% this year and has a three-year average annual return of 55%. It gets a "strong buy," five-star rating from S&P.

10. Westlake Chemical ( WLK)

Company profile: Westlake Chemical makes basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and fabricated products. Its sub-sector, commodity chemicals, has increased 8% this year.

Investor takeaway: Westlake Chemical shares are up 45% this year and have a three-year average annual return of 63%. S&P gives it a "buy" rating with four stars.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Stocks in the Red-Hot Materials Sector portfolio on Stockpickr.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

If you liked this article you might like

Feeling a Little Delphic on the Direction of Alcoa

How to Profit With Technical Analysis: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Fri 8/25/17)

Cramer: This Rally Isn't Without Meaning

Cramer: The Market Feels More Treacherous Than It Looks

Alcoa Still Unable to Hit New Highs on the First Try