El Paso Corporation (EP): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

El Paso Corporation ( EP) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.5%. By the end of trading, El Paso Corporation rose 45 cents (1.6%) to $29.55 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 18 million shares of El Paso Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.3 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $29-$29.82 after having opened the day at $29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $29.10. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: L & L Energy ( LLEN), up 16%, Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), up 11.9%, United States Antimony Corporation ( UAMY), up 11.8%, and China Gerui Advanced Materials Group ( CHOP), up 11.2%.

El Paso Corporation operates in the natural gas transmission, and exploration and production sectors of the energy industry primarily in the United States. El Paso Corporation has a market cap of $22.15 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 136.2, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there is one analyst that rates El Paso Corporation a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates El Paso Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Hugoton Royalty ( HGT), down 34.2%, Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), down 33%, Patriot Coal Corporation ( PCX), down 28.3%, and Geokinetics ( GOK), down 25.7%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with Devon Energy ( DVN) being today's basic materials sector loser.

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).
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