National Oilwell Varco Inc. (NOV): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

National Oilwell Varco ( NOV) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, National Oilwell Varco rose 33 cents (0.5%) to $66.99 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.6 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $66.02-$67.31 after having opened the day at $66.26 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.66. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: WSP Holdings ( WH), up 12.8%, Atlatsa Resources ( ATL), up 11%, Ceres ( CERE), up 9.9%, and Lizhan Environmental ( LZEN), up 8.9%.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. designs, constructs, manufactures, and sells systems, components, and products for oil and gas drilling and production, as well as provides oilfield services and supplies, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $28.52 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 17 analysts that rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and one rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Patriot Coal Corporation ( PCX), down 35.2%, James River Coal Company ( JRCC), down 18.9%, Tronox ( TROX), down 17.6%, and Cereplast ( CERP), down 13.2%, were all losers within the basic materials sector with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD) 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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