5 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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 10 points (0.1%) at 14,085 as of Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 12:04 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,607 issues advancing vs. 1,243 declining with 160 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Vale ( VALE), up 1.9%, Mosaic ( MOS), up 1.2%, Hess ( HES), up 1.3%, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD), up 0.8% and Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 0.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include CGG Veritas ( CGV), down 8.9%, Kinross Gold Corporation ( KGC), down 2.5%, Tenaris ( TS), down 1.8%, Goldcorp ( GG), down 1.9% and Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), down 1.6%.

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

5. Western Refining ( WNR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Western Refining is up $1.85 (5.3%) to $36.94 on average volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Western Refining exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $35.10-$37.57 after having opened the day at $35.21 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.09.

Western Refining, Inc. operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products. The company operates in three segments: Refining Group, Wholesale Group, and Retail Group. Western Refining has a market cap of $3.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 24.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Western Refining a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

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

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4. As of noon trading, Continental Resources ( CLR) is up $3.51 (4.2%) to $87.48 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Continental Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $86.73-$89.00 after having opened the day at $88.07 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $83.97.

Continental Resources, Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas primarily in the United States. Continental Resources has a market cap of $15.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 37.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 12.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 14 analysts that rate Continental Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Continental Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Continental Resources Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB) is up $0.64 (1.1%) to $58.84 on light volume Thus far, 1.0 million shares of LyondellBasell Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $58.17-$59.13 after having opened the day at $58.38 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.20.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V. manufacturers and sells chemicals and polymers, refines crude oil, produces gasoline blending components, and develops and licenses technologies for the production of polymers. LyondellBasell Industries has a market cap of $32.7 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.5, 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 Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate LyondellBasell Industries a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates LyondellBasell Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full LyondellBasell Industries Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Monsanto Company ( MON) is up $0.71 (0.7%) to $101.11 on light volume Thus far, 776,127 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $100.18-$101.43 after having opened the day at $100.65 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $100.40.

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 $53.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 4 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. Get the full Monsanto Company Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Halliburton Company ( HAL) is up $0.34 (0.8%) to $41.61 on light volume Thus far, 3.3 million shares of Halliburton Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $40.92-$41.77 after having opened the day at $41.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.27.

Halliburton Company provides various products and services to the energy industry for exploring, developing, and producing oil and natural gas worldwide. It operates in two segments, Completion and Production, and Drilling and Evaluation. Halliburton Company has a market cap of $37.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 22 analysts that rate Halliburton Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Halliburton 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, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Halliburton Company 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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