Apache Corporation (APA): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

Apache Corporation ( APA) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 1.1%. By the end of trading, Apache Corporation fell $4.30 (-5%) to $82.56 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 5.1 million shares of Apache Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $81.58-$83.82 after having opened the day at $82.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $86.86. Other company's within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: GeoGlobal Resources ( GGR), down 16.7%, Hornbeck Offshore Services ( HOS), down 14.1%, World Fuel Services Corporation ( INT), down 13.4%, and Stone Energy Corporation ( SGY), down 13.2%.

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids. Apache Corporation has a market cap of $33.66 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.1, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate Apache Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apache Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

On the positive front, Chemtura Corporation ( CHMT), up 15.1%, Tesoro Corporation ( TSO), up 14.3%, Atlatsa Resources ( ATL), up 13.2%, and Geokinetics ( GOK), up 13%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Ecopetrol S.A ( EC) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

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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