Noble Energy Inc (NBL): Today's Featured Basic Materials 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.

Noble Energy ( NBL) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Noble Energy rose $3.33 (3.5%) to $99.37 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 2.1 million shares of Noble Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $96.52-$99.37 after having opened the day at $98.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $96.04. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Metabolix ( MBLX), up 45%, Sonde Resources ( SOQ), up 17.2%, BMB Munai ( BMBM), up 15.7%, and Ivanhoe Energy ( IVAN), up 13.9%.
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Noble Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the United States, West Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, the North Sea, and internationally. Noble Energy has a market cap of $17.07 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 40.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Noble Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and six rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Noble Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 10.4%, Torch Energy Royalty ( TRU), down 10.2%, Abraxas Petroleum Corporation ( AXAS), down 10.1%, and Cereplast ( CERP), down 9.4%, were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Encana ( ECA) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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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