Monsanto Company (MON): Today's Featured Chemicals Winner

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.

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 1.3%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company rose $1.27 (1.3%) to $99.98 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.6 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock ranged in a price between $98.23-$99.99 after having opened the day at $98.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $98.71. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Metabolix ( MBLX), up 9.2%, American Pacific Corporation ( APFC), up 6.7%, Senomyx ( SNMX), up 5.9%, and TOR Minerals International ( TORM), up 5.8%.
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Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $52.86 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and four rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

On the negative front, Rentech Nitrogen Partners ( RNF), down 5.8%, Agrium ( AGU), down 5.3%, Pure Bioscience ( PURE), down 4.1%, and Verenium Corporation ( VRNM), down 4%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with CF Industries Holdings ( CF) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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