ConocoPhillips (COP): Today's Featured Basic Materials Loser

ConocoPhillips ( COP) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials loser. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.5%. By the end of trading, ConocoPhillips fell $1.11 (-2%) to $55.30 on average volume. Throughout the day, 8.9 million shares of ConocoPhillips exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.4 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $55.19-$56.31 after having opened the day at $56.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.41. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Houston American Energy Corporation ( HUSA), down 18.4%, Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 12%, Solazyme ( SZYM), down 10.4%, and Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), down 10.1%.

ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas and bitumen on a worldwide basis. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $71.33 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.2, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are six analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, four analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, 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, Geokinetics ( GOK), up 30.3%, Patriot Coal Corporation ( PCX), up 22.3%, James River Coal Company ( JRCC), up 15.6%, and Apco Oil and Gas International ( APAGF), up 14.9%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) 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).