Albemarle Corp (ALB): 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.

Albemarle ( ALB) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Albemarle rose 90 cents (1.7%) to $55.11 on light volume. Throughout the day, 436,594 shares of Albemarle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of one million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $54.56-$55.55 after having opened the day at $54.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $54.21. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Kronos Worldwide ( KRO), up 8.6%, Tronox ( TROX), up 6.8%, OM Group ( OMG), up 6.7%, and American Pacific Corporation ( APFC), up 4.5%.
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Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals. Albemarle has a market cap of $4.86 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate Albemarle a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Albemarle 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, attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Gevo ( GEVO), down 10.5%, Cereplast ( CERP), down 8%, TOR Minerals International ( TORM), down 7.5%, and Altair Nanotechnologies ( ALTI), down 6.9%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with W. R. Grace ( GRA) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

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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