Monsanto Company (MON): Today's Highlighted Laggard In Basic Materials

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.

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.4%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company fell $1.92 (-1.9%) to $99.40 on average volume. Throughout the day, 2.9 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $98.92-$101.47 after having opened the day at $101.26 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $101.32. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Kimber Resources ( KBX), down 11.5%, HyperDynamics Corporation ( HDY), down 10.7%, Sutor Technology Group ( SUTR), down 9.4%, and GMX Resources ( GMXR), down 8.4%.
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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 $55.25 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and four 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.

On the positive front, Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat ( AMCF), up 15.5%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), up 14.3%, Equal Energy ( EQU), up 10.3%, and Gold Standard Ventures ( GSV), up 9.8%, were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Continental Resources ( CLR) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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).

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