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

Albemarle ( ALB) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 2.1%. By the end of trading, Albemarle fell $1.02 (-1.5%) to $66.32 on average volume. Throughout the day, 880,802 shares of Albemarle exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 737,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $66.00-$67.21 after having opened the day at $67.19 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $67.34. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Torch Energy Royalty ( TRU), down 23.3%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), down 10.5%, GeoPetro Resources Company ( GPR), down 7.7% and Kimber Resources ( KBX), down 7.1%.
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Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals. Albemarle has a market cap of $5.8 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Albemarle a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Albemarle as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), down 30.8%, North American Palladium ( PAL), down 20.9%, McEwen Mining ( MUX), down 18.9% and Pretium Resources ( PVG), down 16.8% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO) 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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