Albemarle Corp (ALB): Today's Featured Chemicals Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Albemarle ( ALB) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Albemarle fell 91 cents (-1.6%) to $57.95 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.4 million shares of Albemarle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 950,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $57.63-$58.74 after having opened the day at $58.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.86. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 4.8%, REX American Resources ( REX), down 4.3%, Green Plains Renewable Energy ( GPRE), down 3%, and Ceres ( CERE), down 2.8%.

Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals. Albemarle has a market cap of $5.45 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.3, equal to the average chemicals industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Albemarle a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Albemarle as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Gulf Resources ( GURE), up 6.9%, China Green Agriculture ( CGA), up 5.6%, Altair Nanotechnologies ( ALTI), up 5.5%, and Intrepid Potash ( IPI), up 4.4%, were all gainers within the chemicals industry with Praxair ( PX) being today's featured chemicals industry leader.

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).
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