3 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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 53 points (-0.4%) at 13,873 as of Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 851 issues advancing vs. 2,047 declining with 117 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Gold Fields ( GFI), down 14.1%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), down 3.3%, Williams Partners ( WPZ), down 2.4%, Transocean ( RIG), down 2.7% and Total ( TOT), down 2.1%.

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

3. Ultrapar Holdings ( UGP) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Ultrapar Holdings is up $0.69 (2.7%) to $26.40 on average volume Thus far, 224,511 shares of Ultrapar Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 367,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $26.10-$26.42 after having opened the day at $26.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.71.

Ultrapar Holdings Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates in the petrochemicals industry. Ultrapar Holdings has a market cap of $13.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 29.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Ultrapar Holdings a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ultrapar Holdings as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Ultrapar Holdings Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Berry Petroleum ( BRY) is up $6.56 (17.0%) to $45.15 on heavy volume Thus far, 6.9 million shares of Berry Petroleum exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 585,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.82-$47.01 after having opened the day at $47.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.59.

Berry Petroleum Company, an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, exploitation, exploration, production, and development of crude oil and natural gas in the United States. Its principal reserves and producing properties are located in California, Texas, Utah, and Colorado. Berry Petroleum has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 20.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Berry Petroleum a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Berry Petroleum as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Berry Petroleum Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Yamana Gold ( AUY) is up $0.81 (5.6%) to $15.21 on heavy volume Thus far, 5.2 million shares of Yamana Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $14.60-$15.36 after having opened the day at $14.77 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $14.40.

Yamana Gold Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral properties, primarily gold. It also explores for copper, molybdenum, zinc, and silver metals. Yamana Gold has a market cap of $11.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 31.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 12.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Yamana Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Yamana Gold as a buy. 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, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Yamana Gold 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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