5 Stocks Underperforming Today In The Basic Materials Sector

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%. 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%. 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%.

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

5. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan is down $0.41 (-1.0%) to $39.78 on light volume Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $39.67-$40.15 after having opened the day at $40.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.19.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products primarily in the United States and Canada. The company mines and produces potash, which is used as fertilizer. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $34.7 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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 Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Ratings Report now.

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4. As of noon trading, Mosaic ( MOS) is down $0.84 (-1.4%) to $60.63 on average volume Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Mosaic exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $60.23-$61.04 after having opened the day at $60.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $61.47.

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. Mosaic has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Mosaic a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mosaic as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Mosaic Ratings Report now.

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3. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is down $0.73 (-2.2%) to $32.71 on average volume Thus far, 3.1 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.54-$33.15 after having opened the day at $33.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $33.44.

The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies chemical products used as raw materials in the manufacture of customer products and services worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $40.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 47.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 2.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Dow Chemical a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dow Chemical as a buy. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Dow Chemical Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Monsanto Company ( MON) is down $1.00 (-1.0%) to $102.12 on light volume Thus far, 675,435 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $101.61-$102.92 after having opened the day at $102.92 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.12.

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 $55.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.1% 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 no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Monsanto Company Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, PPG Industries ( PPG) is down $2.00 (-1.4%) to $139.01 on light volume Thus far, 467,509 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $138.13-$140.06 after having opened the day at $139.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $141.01.

PPG Industries, Inc. operates as a coatings and specialty products company. PPG Industries has a market cap of $20.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate PPG Industries a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPG Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance 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 PPG Industries 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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