Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Today's Featured Energy Winner

Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO) pushed the Energy industry higher today making it today's featured energy winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Valero Energy Corporation rose 55 cents (2.2%) to $25.12 on light volume. Throughout the day, 7.1 million shares of Valero Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $24.68-$25.22 after having opened the day at $24.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.57. Other companies within the Energy industry that increased today were: Mission NewEnergy ( MNEL), up 16.5%, Houston American Energy Corporation ( HUSA), up 7.8%, Sonde Resources ( SOQ), up 7.4%, and Oil States International ( OIS), up 6.8%.

Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Ethanol, and Retail. Valero Energy Corporation has a market cap of $13.35 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.5, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Valero Energy Corporation a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable 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 shows low profit margins.

On the negative front, Recon Technology ( RCON), down 11.1%, Newpark Resources ( NR), down 10.9%, Key Energy Services ( KEG), down 10.3%, and GeoMet ( GMET), down 7.8%, were all losers within the energy industry with Transocean ( RIG) being today's energy industry loser.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the energy industry could consider Energy Select Sector SPDR ( XLE) while those bearish on the energy industry could consider Proshares Short Oil & Gas ( DDG).