3 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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 25 points (-0.2%) at 14,513 as of Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:49 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,309 issues advancing vs. 1,578 declining with 140 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.5% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include POSCO ( PKX), down 2.2%, Ecopetrol S.A ( EC), down 1.1%, Kinder Morgan ( KMI), down 0.7%, ConocoPhillips ( COP), down 0.7% and Total ( TOT), down 0.5%. Top gainers within the sector include National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), up 3.3%, Imperial Oil ( IMO), up 1.9%, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX), up 1.8%, Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO), up 1.7% and Suncor Energy ( SU), up 1.5%.

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

3. PetroChina ( PTR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, PetroChina is down $1.85 (-1.3%) to $136.30 on light volume Thus far, 33,423 shares of PetroChina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 91,500 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $135.52-$136.34 after having opened the day at $135.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $138.15.

PetroChina Company Limited produces and sells oil and gas in the People's Republic of China. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. PetroChina has a market cap of $251.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 1.8, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate PetroChina a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PetroChina as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full PetroChina Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO) is down $0.41 (-1.1%) to $36.63 on average volume Thus far, 872,869 shares of Southern Copper Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $36.58-$37.17 after having opened the day at $36.91 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.04.

Southern Copper Corporation engages in mining, exploring, producing, smelting, and refining copper and other minerals in Peru, Mexico, and Chile. Southern Copper Corporation has a market cap of $31.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Southern Copper Corporation a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern Copper Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, 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 Southern Copper Corporation Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) is down $0.42 (-0.6%) to $66.16 on heavy volume Thus far, 2.2 million shares of Royal Dutch Shell exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $65.80-$66.23 after having opened the day at $65.94 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $66.58.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for and extracts crude oil and natural gas. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $207.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Royal Dutch Shell 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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