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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 64 points (0.5%) at 13,945 as of Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 12:05 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,966 issues advancing vs. 866 declining with 154 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.5% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include World Fuel Services Corporation ( INT), down 10.2%, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX), down 1.3%, Ensco PLC Class A ( ESV), down 1.3%, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO), down 1.2% and Statoil ASA ( STO), down 0.6%. Top gainers within the sector include Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG), up 7.9%, Concho Resources ( CXO), up 3.0%, Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE), up 2.4%, LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB), up 2.4% and Tenaris ( TS), up 1.9%.

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

5. Williams Partners ( WPZ) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Williams Partners is down $0.62 (-1.2%) to $51.30 on average volume Thus far, 325,251 shares of Williams Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 750,100 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $51.27-$52.68 after having opened the day at $52.28 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.92.

Williams Partners L.P., an energy infrastructure company, focuses on connecting North America's hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and natural gas liquids. It operates in two segments, Gas Pipeline and Midstream Gas & Liquids. Williams Partners has a market cap of $19.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 48.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 10.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Williams Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Partners as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins 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 Williams Partners Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Agrium ( AGU) is down $6.51 (-6.1%) to $100.33 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.5 million shares of Agrium exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 663,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $99.27-$106.50 after having opened the day at $106.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $106.84.

Agrium Inc. engages in the retail of agricultural products and services worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Retail, Wholesale, and Advanced Technologies. Agrium has a market cap of $16.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Agrium a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

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

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3. As of noon trading, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT) is down $0.53 (-1.3%) to $39.07 on average volume Thus far, 2.7 million shares of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $38.92-$39.46 after having opened the day at $39.42 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $39.60.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products primarily in the United States and Canada. The company mines and produces potash, which is used as fertilizer. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $34.8 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Mosaic ( MOS) is down $0.94 (-1.6%) to $56.79 on heavy volume Thus far, 2.1 million shares of Mosaic exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $56.40-$57.46 after having opened the day at $56.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.73.

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. Mosaic has a market cap of $17.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Mosaic a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

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

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1. As of noon trading, CF Industries Holdings ( CF) is down $3.07 (-1.5%) to $200.86 on heavy volume Thus far, 759,449 shares of CF Industries Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 906,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $199.02-$203.90 after having opened the day at $203.71 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $203.93.

CF Industries Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, CF Industries, Inc., manufactures and distributes nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products, serving agricultural and industrial customers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Nitrogen and Phosphate. CF Industries Holdings has a market cap of $13.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 1.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate CF Industries Holdings a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CF Industries Holdings as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, 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 CF Industries Holdings 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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