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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3. As of noon trading, Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE) is up $1.01 (1.8%) to $58.12 on heavy volume Thus far, 780,329 shares of Energy Transfer Equity exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 637,000 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $57.34-$59.07 after having opened the day at $57.48 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $57.11.

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., through its subsidiaries, provides diversified energy-related services in the United States. The company sells natural gas to electric utilities, independent power plants, local distribution companies, industrial end-users, and other marketing companies. Energy Transfer Equity has a market cap of $15.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 48.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 25.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Energy Transfer Equity a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Energy Transfer Equity as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Energy Transfer Equity Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Plains All American Pipeline ( PAA) is up $0.94 (1.7%) to $55.83 on light volume Thus far, 341,795 shares of Plains All American Pipeline exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $54.80-$55.83 after having opened the day at $54.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $54.89.

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., through its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, terminalling, and marketing of crude oil and refined products in the United States and Canada. The company operates in three segments: Transportation, Facilities, and Supply and Logistics. Plains All American Pipeline has a market cap of $18.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 19.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Plains All American Pipeline a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Plains All American Pipeline as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, reasonable valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Plains All American Pipeline Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Kinder Morgan ( KMI) is up $0.48 (1.3%) to $37.44 on average volume Thus far, 1.8 million shares of Kinder Morgan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $36.86-$37.48 after having opened the day at $36.93 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $36.97.

Kinder Morgan, Inc. owns and operates energy transportation and storage assets in the United States and Canada. The company operates in six segments: Natural Gas Pipelines, Products Pipelines KMP, CO2 KMP, Terminals KMP, Kinder Morgan Canada KMP, and Other. Kinder Morgan has a market cap of $37.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 64.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 3.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Kinder Morgan a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kinder Morgan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year. Get the full Kinder Morgan Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 4 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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