ConocoPhillips (COP): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

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

ConocoPhillips ( COP) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 2.4%. By the end of trading, ConocoPhillips fell $1.01 (-1.7%) to $59.35 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,346,796 shares of ConocoPhillips exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6,338,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $58.71-$59.90 after having opened the day at $59.78 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $60.36. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Golden Minerals ( AUMN), down 18.2%, Ceres ( CERE), down 17.8%, Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), down 17.2% and Walter Energy ( WLT), down 16.1%.
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ConocoPhillips explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $73.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, 4 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, Lake Shore Gold ( LSG), down 37.1%, Brigus Gold ( BRD), down 17.2%, Golden Star Resources ( GSS), down 15.3% and USEC ( USU), down 11.0% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Range Resources Corporation ( RRC) 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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