Williams Partners LP (WPZ): 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.

Williams Partners ( WPZ) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.7%. By the end of trading, Williams Partners fell 68 cents (-1.3%) to $52.30 on average volume. Throughout the day, 716,827 shares of Williams Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 687,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $51.50-$53 after having opened the day at $53 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.98. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: American Vanguard Corporation ( AVD), down 8.2%, GSE ( GSE), down 6.5%, TOR Minerals International ( TORM), down 5%, and Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX), down 3.2%.
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Williams Partners L.P., an energy infrastructure company, focuses on connecting North America's hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and natural gas liquids. It operates in two segments, Gas Pipeline and Midstream Gas & Liquids. Williams Partners has a market cap of $18.51 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 11.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are nine analysts that rate Williams Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and two rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Partners as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Altair Nanotechnologies ( ALTI), up 14.9%, Braskem ( BAK), up 7.6%, Rentech ( RTK), up 6.6%, and Lightbridge ( LTBR), up 6.5%, were all gainers within the chemicals industry with Dow Chemical ( DOW) 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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