ConocoPhillips (COP): 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.

ConocoPhillips ( COP) 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, ConocoPhillips fell 62 cents (-1.1%) to $56.18 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7.2 million shares of ConocoPhillips exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.1 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $56.14-$57.01 after having opened the day at $56.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $56.80. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: HyperDynamics Corporation ( HDY), down 19%, McMoRan Exploration ( MMR), down 15.2%, Geokinetics ( GOK), down 14.3%, and Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat ( AMCF), down 13.4%.
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ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas and bitumen on a worldwide basis. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $68.79 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are six analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, four analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, China Precision Steel ( CPSL), up 29.2%, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), up 20.1%, Clean Diesel Technologies ( CDTI), up 13%, and China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources ( SHZ), up 12.9%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP) 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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