5 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 17 points (0.1%) at 13,052 as of Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,459 issues advancing vs. 1,413 declining with 145 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include POSCO ( PKX), up 2.7%, Buenaventura Mining Company ( BVN), up 2.5%, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG), up 2.5%, Noble Energy ( NBL), up 2.3% and PPG Industries ( PPG), up 2.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Eni SpA ( E), down 2.0%, Apache Corporation ( APA), down 1.9%, Hess ( HES), down 1.8%, Continental Resources ( CLR), down 1.5% and Williams Companies ( WMB), down 0.9%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. Gerdau ( GGB) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Gerdau is up $0.11 (1.3%) to $8.63 on average volume Thus far, 3.0 million shares of Gerdau exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $8.56-$8.65 after having opened the day at $8.62 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.52.

Gerdau S.A. engages in the production and commercialization of steel products worldwide. Gerdau has a market cap of $14.2 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Gerdau a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gerdau as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. Get the full Gerdau Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO) is up $0.36 (1.0%) to $37.62 on average volume Thus far, 813,880 shares of Southern Copper Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.38-$37.82 after having opened the day at $37.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.26.

Southern Copper Corporation engages in mining, exploring, producing, smelting, and refining copper and other minerals in Peru, Mexico, and Chile. Southern Copper Corporation has a market cap of $30.5 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Southern Copper Corporation a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern Copper Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Southern Copper Corporation Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Yamana Gold ( AUY) is up $0.25 (1.4%) to $17.97 on average volume Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Yamana Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $17.63-$18.24 after having opened the day at $17.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $17.72.

Yamana Gold Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral properties, primarily gold. It also explores for copper, molybdenum, zinc, and silver metals. Yamana Gold has a market cap of $13.7 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.0, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 24.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Yamana Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Yamana Gold as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Yamana Gold Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Mosaic ( MOS) is up $1.06 (2.0%) to $54.14 on light volume Thus far, 1.1 million shares of Mosaic exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $53.00-$54.15 after having opened the day at $53.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $53.08.

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. Mosaic has a market cap of $15.7 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Mosaic a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mosaic 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, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Mosaic Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD) is up $0.25 (0.6%) to $42.87 on light volume Thus far, 1.5 million shares of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.56-$42.95 after having opened the day at $42.71 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.62.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company operates as a science and technology based company worldwide. Its Agriculture segment provides hybrid corn and soybean seeds, and grains under the Pioneer brand name; and herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company has a market cap of $39.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 7.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, 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).

A reminder about TheStreet Ratings group: 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.

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