Apache Corporation (APA): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

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

Apache Corporation ( APA) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.8%. By the end of trading, Apache Corporation rose $1.06 (1.2%) to $85.80 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,415,206 shares of Apache Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,553,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $84.22-$85.86 after having opened the day at $84.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $84.74. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Gastar Exploration ( GST), up 13.2%, LRR Energy ( LRE), up 10.6%, Midway Gold ( MDW), up 10.2% and Banro Corporation ( BAA), up 9.1%.
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Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids. Apache Corporation has a market cap of $33.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.0, above 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 Wednesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Apache Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apache Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

On the negative front, Kimber Resources ( KBX), down 12.5%, Great Basin Gold ( GBG), down 11.6%, USEC ( USU), down 8.3% and Recovery Energy ( RECV), down 7.4% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Patterson-UTI Energy ( PTEN) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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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