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 45 points (0.3%) at 14,027 as of Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 12:05 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,918 issues advancing vs. 965 declining with 159 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Ecopetrol S.A ( EC), down 3.1%, PPG Industries ( PPG), down 2.4%, Sherwin-Williams Company ( SHW), down 2.1%, Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), down 1.5% and BP ( BP), down 1.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Braskem ( BAK), up 7.7%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), up 2.7%, Total ( TOT), up 2.5%, Marathon Oil ( MRO), up 2.2% and Statoil ASA ( STO), up 1.4%.

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

3. PetroChina ( PTR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, PetroChina is down $1.02 (-0.8%) to $135.84 on average volume Thus far, 39,339 shares of PetroChina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 95,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $135.40-$135.98 after having opened the day at $135.40 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $136.86.

PetroChina Company Limited produces and sells oil and gas in the People's Republic of China. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. PetroChina has a market cap of $250.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 1.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 4.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate PetroChina a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PetroChina as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full PetroChina Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO) is down $1.01 (-2.6%) to $38.66 on average volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Southern Copper Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $38.65-$39.67 after having opened the day at $39.67 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.67.

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 $33.5 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Southern Copper Corporation a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 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, 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 Southern Copper Corporation Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) is down $0.68 (-1.9%) to $34.36 on average volume Thus far, 7.9 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 18.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $34.26-$35.17 after having opened the day at $34.94 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.04.

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 $33.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold as a hold. 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 and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year. 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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