Newfield Exploration Company (NFX): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

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.

Newfield Exploration Company ( NFX) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, Newfield Exploration Company rose 36 cents (1.1%) to $32.99 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.9 million shares of Newfield Exploration Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $32.48-$33.27 after having opened the day at $32.73 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.63. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: General Steel Holdings ( GSI), up 25.6%, Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), up 24.4%, Lizhan Environmental ( LZEN), up 16.4%, and Dejour Energy ( DEJ), up 16.2%.

Newfield Exploration Company, an independent energy company, engaged in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. It has operations in the Mid-Continent, the Rocky Mountains, and onshore Texas, as well as in Malaysia and China. Newfield Exploration Company has a market cap of $4.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.5, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 13.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Newfield Exploration Company a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Newfield Exploration Company as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins 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, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

On the negative front, Pure Bioscience ( PURE), down 16.7%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), down 11.3%, Zion Oil & Gas ( ZN), down 10.8%, and Energy Services of America Corporation ( ESA), down 9.1%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Apache Corporation ( APA) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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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