Total SA (TOT): Today's Featured Basic Materials Loser

Total ( TOT) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials loser. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Total fell 27 cents (-0.6%) to $48.11 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4.3 million shares of Total exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $47.72-$48.18 after having opened the day at $47.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.38. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Anooraq Resources Corporation ( ANO), down 20%, GeoPetro Resources Company ( GPR), down 19.6%, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 14.4%, and Houston American Energy Corporation ( HUSA), down 11.5%.

TOTAL S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated oil and gas company worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Upstream, Downstream, and Chemicals. Total has a market cap of $114.34 billion and is part of the energy industry. Currently there are five analysts that rate Total a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and three rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Total as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, Sunoco ( SUN), up 20.5%, TGC Industries ( TGE), up 14%, GeoMet ( GMET), up 12.7%, and PostRock Energy ( PSTR), up 10.4%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Baker Hughes ( BHI) 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).