Monsanto Company (MON): Today's Featured Chemicals 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.

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.2%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company rose $1.30 (1.5%) to $90.48 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2.1 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of three million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $89.31-$90.79 after having opened the day at $89.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $89.18. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: OM Group ( OMG), up 12.8%, Westlake Chemical Corporation ( WLK), up 7.8%, Cereplast ( CERP), up 6.8%, and LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB), up 5.7%.
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Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $47.2 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.9, above the average chemicals industry P/E ratio of 23.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 27.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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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