EC, GOLD And MOS, 3 Basic Materials Stocks Pushing The Sector Lower

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 54 points (0.4%) at 15,287 as of Friday, May 17, 2013, 12:54 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,992 issues advancing vs. 899 declining with 140 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Agnico Eagle Mines ( AEM), down 3.82, Franco-Nevada ( FNV), down 3.69, Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM), down 3.21, Goldcorp ( GG), down 2.50 and Silver Wheaton Corporation ( SLW), down 2.28. Top gainers within the sector include Noble Corporation ( NE), up 2.8%, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 2.9%, Continental Resources ( CLR), up 2.6%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), up 2.5% and Noble Energy ( NBL), up 2.1%.

TheStreet Ratings group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector lower today:

3. Ecopetrol S.A ( EC) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Ecopetrol S.A is down $0.42 (-0.9%) to $44.41 on light volume Thus far, 196,901 shares of Ecopetrol S.A exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 632,600 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $44.35-$44.93 after having opened the day at $44.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $44.83.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2011, its proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas totaled 1,856.7 million barrels of oil equivalent. Ecopetrol S.A has a market cap of $92.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.0, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 24.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ecopetrol S.A as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Ecopetrol S.A Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Randgold Resources ( GOLD) is down $1.69 (-2.3%) to $72.43 on average volume Thus far, 355,823 shares of Randgold Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 782,400 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $71.75-$73.02 after having opened the day at $73.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $74.12.

Randgold Resources Limited engages in the exploration and development of gold deposits in Sub-Saharan Africa. Randgold Resources has a market cap of $6.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 27.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Randgold Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Randgold Resources Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Mosaic ( MOS) is down $0.83 (-1.4%) to $60.28 on average volume Thus far, 1.8 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-$61.16 after having opened the day at $61.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $61.11.

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. Mosaic has a market cap of $18.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 7.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mosaic 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, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Mosaic Ratings Report now.

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If you are interested in one of these 5 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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