Monsanto Company (MON): 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

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company rose $2.93 (3.0%) to $101.65 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 4,077,643 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,533,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $99.53-$101.95 after having opened the day at $99.82 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $98.72. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), up 19.1%, BMB Munai ( BMBM), up 15.9%, Constellation Energy Partners ( CEP), up 11.8% and Kimber Resources ( KBX), up 10.5%.
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Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $52.8 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.9, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the negative front, Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 19.5%, Asanko Gold ( AKG), down 14.9%, James River Coal Company ( JRCC), down 11.2% and Houston American Energy Corporation ( HUSA), down 10.3% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Teck Resources ( TCK) 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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