3 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Lower

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%. 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%. 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%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector lower today:

3. EOG Resources ( EOG) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, EOG Resources is down $0.66 (-0.6%) to $118.06 on light volume Thus far, 367,027 shares of EOG Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $117.20-$118.75 after having opened the day at $118.29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $118.72.

EOG Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, production, and marketing of natural gas and crude oil primarily in the United States, Canada, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China. EOG Resources has a market cap of $31.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 19 analysts that rate EOG Resources a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates EOG Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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 EOG Resources Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV) is down $0.41 (-0.6%) to $68.20 on average volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $67.83-$69.00 after having opened the day at $68.47 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $68.61.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. designs, constructs, manufactures, and sells systems, components, and products for oil and gas drilling and production, as well as provides oilfield services and supplies, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $29.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 18 analysts that rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full National Oilwell Varco Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) is down $1.12 (-3.5%) to $31.04 on heavy volume Thus far, 44.6 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.58-$31.33 after having opened the day at $31.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.16.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. engages in the exploration, mining, and production of mineral resources. The company primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt hydroxide, silver, and other metals, such as rhenium and magnetite. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold has a market cap of $36.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold 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, increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold 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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