5 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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 24 points (-0.2%) at 13,886 as of Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, 11:49 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,305 issues advancing vs. 1,515 declining with 144 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include ConocoPhillips ( COP), down 4.8%, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.B), down 2.4%, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A), down 1.8%, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT), down 1.7% and Total ( TOT), down 0.9%. A company within the sector that increased today was Occidental Petroleum Corporation ( OXY), up 2.9%.

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

5. Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Canadian Natural Resources is down $0.69 (-2.2%) to $30.38 on average volume Thus far, 1.4 million shares of Canadian Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.30-$31.11 after having opened the day at $30.94 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $31.07.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing, and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and natural gas. Canadian Natural Resources has a market cap of $33.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Canadian Natural Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Canadian Natural Resources as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Canadian Natural Resources Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) is down $1.93 (-2.6%) to $70.79 on heavy volume Thus far, 3.0 million shares of Royal Dutch Shell exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $70.60-$71.83 after having opened the day at $71.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $72.72.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for and extracts crude oil and natural gas. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $228.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 5.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Royal Dutch Shell Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, BP ( BP) is down $0.33 (-0.7%) to $44.59 on light volume Thus far, 1.7 million shares of BP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $44.38-$45.00 after having opened the day at $44.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.92.

BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. BP has a market cap of $140.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate BP a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full BP Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR) is down $0.40 (-2.2%) to $18.17 on average volume Thus far, 7.0 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $18.13-$18.35 after having opened the day at $18.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.57.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. operates as an integrated oil and gas company in Brazil and internationally. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $127.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is down $1.92 (-5.5%) to $32.70 on heavy volume Thus far, 12.2 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.00-$33.15 after having opened the day at $32.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.61.

The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies chemical products used as raw materials in the manufacture of customer products and services worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $41.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Dow Chemical a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dow Chemical as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Dow Chemical Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 3 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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