Monsanto Company (MON): 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.

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day down 1.3%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company fell 98 cents (-1.1%) to $85.87 on light volume. Throughout the day, two million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.9 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $85.68-$87.60 after having opened the day at $87.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $86.85. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: Gulf Resources ( GURE), down 7.1%, Solazyme ( SZYM), down 5.6%, Balchem Corporation ( BCPC), down 5.6%, and CF Industries Holdings ( CF), down 5.6%.
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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 $46.01 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 23.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. 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, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, 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.

On the positive front, GSE ( GSE), up 5.4% and Huntsman Corporation ( HUN), up 4.3%, 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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