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 42 points (0.3%) at 14,338 as of Thursday, March 7, 2013, 11:50 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,674 issues advancing vs. 1,197 declining with 153 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.9% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A), up 4.5%, Encana ( ECA), up 4.0%, Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ), up 3.0%, EOG Resources ( EOG), up 1.5% and Eni SpA ( E), up 1.3%. A company within the sector that fell today was Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO), up 2.8%.

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

5. Suncor Energy ( SU) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Suncor Energy is up $0.52 (1.7%) to $30.84 on average volume Thus far, 1.7 million shares of Suncor Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.50-$30.90 after having opened the day at $30.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $30.32.

Suncor Energy Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company. Suncor Energy has a market cap of $45.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 8.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Suncor Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Suncor Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Suncor Energy Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG) is up $2.13 (3.4%) to $64.35 on light volume Thus far, 708,905 shares of Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $62.29-$64.51 after having opened the day at $62.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $62.22.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, an independent oil and gas company, engages in the development, exploitation, exploration, production, and marketing of natural gas, crude oil and, and natural gas liquids in the United States. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation has a market cap of $13.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 101.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 25.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Get the full Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Apache Corporation ( APA) is up $2.32 (3.2%) to $75.87 on average volume Thus far, 2.4 million shares of Apache Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $74.24-$76.10 after having opened the day at $74.51 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $73.55.

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids. Apache Corporation has a market cap of $28.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 6.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Apache Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apache Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Apache Corporation Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR) is up $0.71 (4.3%) to $17.39 on heavy volume Thus far, 24.3 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 16.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $17.11-$17.75 after having opened the day at $17.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.68.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. operates as an integrated oil and gas company in Brazil and internationally. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $94.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 14.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins. Get the full Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Vale ( VALE) is up $0.23 (1.2%) to $19.16 on average volume Thus far, 11.4 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $19.03-$19.23 after having opened the day at $19.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $18.93.

Vale S.A. engages in the exploration, production, and sale of basic metals in Brazil and internationally. The company is also involved in energy, logistics, and steel businesses. Vale has a market cap of $92.7 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 9.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Vale a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vale 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 attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. Get the full Vale 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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