4 Stocks Driving 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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 45 points (-0.3%) at 14,466 as of Thursday, March 21, 2013, 12:44 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,235 issues advancing vs. 1,661 declining with 139 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM), up 3.2%, Yamana Gold ( AUY), up 2.8%, Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), up 3.1%, Goldcorp ( GG), up 2.6% and Ecopetrol S.A ( EC), up 2.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Companhia Siderurgica Nacional ( SID), down 3.2%, Eastman Chemical Company ( EMN), down 2.7%, Total ( TOT), down 1.4%, Tenaris ( TS), down 1.5% and Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ), down 1.2%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. Statoil ASA ( STO) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Statoil ASA is up $0.17 (0.7%) to $24.38 on heavy volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Statoil ASA exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $24.08-$24.38 after having opened the day at $24.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $24.21.

Statoil ASA, an integrated energy company, engages in the exploration, production, transportation, refining, and marketing of petroleum and petroleum-derived products in Norway and internationally. Statoil ASA has a market cap of $77.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Statoil ASA a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

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

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