Strong Performance Today In Chemicals From Agrium Inc (AGU)

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.

Agrium ( AGU) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, Agrium rose $1.55 (1.6%) to $97.65 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1.1 million shares of Agrium exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 939,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $96.10-$98.50 after having opened the day at $96.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $96.10. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Scotts Miracle Gro ( SMG), up 5.3%, Flotek Industries ( FTK), up 3.1%, FMC Corporation ( FMC), up 2.9%, and Landec Corporation ( LNDC), up 2.1%.
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Agrium Inc. engages in the retail of agricultural products and services. The company operates through three segments: Retail, Wholesale, and Advanced Technologies. Agrium has a market cap of $14.47 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 3.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Agrium a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and seven rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Agrium as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Metabolix ( MBLX), down 9.4%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), down 5.4%, Ceres ( CERE), down 4.7%, and Verenium Corporation ( VRNM), down 3.9%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with Huntsman Corporation ( HUN) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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