Valspar Corporation ( VAL) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.2%. By the end of trading, Valspar Corporation rose 59 cents (1.1%) to $52.59 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.2 million shares of Valspar Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 924,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $51.40-$52.66 after having opened the day at $51.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Yongye International ( YONG), up 11.3%, American Pacific Corporation ( APFC), up 8.9%, Ikonics Corporation ( IKNX), up 7.5%, and Altair Nanotechnologies ( ALTI), up 6.7%.

The Valspar Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes coatings, paints, and related products worldwide. Valspar Corporation has a market cap of $4.54 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 33.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are four analysts that rate Valspar Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valspar Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. 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, Cereplast ( CERP), down 7.1%, Renewable Energy Group ( REGI), down 4.9%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), down 4.8%, and Senomyx ( SNMX), down 3.4%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with Monsanto Company ( MON) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).