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 83 points (0.6%) at 13,218 as of Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,927 issues advancing vs. 999 declining with 148 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include YPF Sociedad Anonima ( YPF), up 5.1%, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), up 1.4%, Total ( TOT), up 1.2%, Monsanto Company ( MON), up 1.1% and Dow Chemical ( DOW), up 1.0%.

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

3. Ecopetrol S.A ( EC) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Ecopetrol S.A is down $0.20 (-0.3%) to $59.08 on heavy volume Thus far, 349,056 shares of Ecopetrol S.A exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 451,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $58.78-$59.65 after having opened the day at $59.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $59.29.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2011, its proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas totaled 1,856.7 million barrels of oil equivalent. Ecopetrol S.A has a market cap of $121.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 32.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Ecopetrol S.A a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ecopetrol S.A as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, 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 shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Ecopetrol S.A Ratings Report now.

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