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

Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.5%. By the end of trading, Alpha Natural Resources fell $0.33 (-5.5%) to $5.67 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 20,383,993 shares of Alpha Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11,610,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $5.50-$6.09 after having opened the day at $6.07 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.00. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Ceres ( CERE), down 12.5%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), down 11.8%, Alexco Resource ( AXU), down 10.6% and Houston American Energy Corporation ( HUSA), down 10.3%.
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Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in extracting, processing, and marketing steam and metallurgical coal in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. Alpha Natural Resources has a market cap of $1.4 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 38.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Alpha Natural Resources a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alpha Natural Resources as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 19.0%, Golden Minerals ( AUMN), down 18.5%, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 15.6% and Zion Oil & Gas ( ZN), down 11.1% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Apache Corporation ( APA) 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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