Nucor Corp. (NUE): 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.

Nucor ( NUE) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Nucor rose 75 cents (1.9%) to $39.33 on average volume. Throughout the day, two million shares of Nucor exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $38.20-$39.33 after having opened the day at $38.32 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.58. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Lizhan Environmental ( LZEN), up 26.7%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 23.3%, TPC Group ( TPCG), up 12.8%, and Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), up 11.5%.
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Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. Nucor has a market cap of $12.27 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.2, below the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 21.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are eight analysts that rate Nucor a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nucor as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Renewable Energy Group ( REGI), down 21.6%, Cereplast ( CERP), down 12.5%, Energy Services of America Corporation ( ESA), down 9.2%, and Lucas Energy ( LEI), down 8.9%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Helmerich & Payne ( HP) 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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