BP PLC (BP): Today's Featured Basic Materials 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.

BP ( BP) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.7%. By the end of trading, BP fell 41 cents (-1%) to $40.54 on average volume. Throughout the day, 4.6 million shares of BP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.2 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $40.40-$40.95 after having opened the day at $40.44 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.95. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Hi-Crush Partners ( HCLP), down 26.3%, Cereplast ( CERP), down 24.2%, Tronox ( TROX), down 18.9%, and HyperDynamics Corporation ( HDY), down 18.3%.
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BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. BP has a market cap of $129.41 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are seven analysts that rate BP a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Emerald Oil ( EOX), up 270.2%, ZaZa Energy ( ZAZA), up 32.1%, Quaterra Resources ( QMM), up 23.7%, and BMB Munai ( BMBM), up 17.9%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

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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