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

Ultra Petroleum Corporation ( UPL) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.5%. By the end of trading, Ultra Petroleum Corporation fell $0.49 (-2.3%) to $21.04 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 7,315,483 shares of Ultra Petroleum Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,321,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.61-$21.70 after having opened the day at $21.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.53. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Harmony Gold Mining ( HMY), down 9.6%, Aurizon Mines ( AZK), down 9.4%, Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), down 7.9% and HyperDynamics Corporation ( HDY), down 5.3%.
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Ultra Petroleum Corp., an independent oil and gas company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and operation of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. Ultra Petroleum Corporation has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 18.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Ultra Petroleum Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ultra Petroleum Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

On the positive front, BMB Munai ( BMBM), down 23.9%, CGG Veritas ( CGV), down 12.5%, Tasman Metals ( TAS), down 11.3% and Quest Rare Minerals ( QRM), down 11.1% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Schlumberger ( SLB) 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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