Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

Air Products & Chemicals ( APD) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.8%. By the end of trading, Air Products & Chemicals fell $2.76 (-3.0%) to $90.75 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 4,378,158 shares of Air Products & Chemicals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,381,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $90.47-$93.60 after having opened the day at $92.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $93.51. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Asanko Gold ( AKG), down 29.8%, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), down 27.5%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), down 26.7% and Linn Energy ( LINE), down 18.7%.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment, and services worldwide. Air Products & Chemicals has a market cap of $19.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 9.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Air Products & Chemicals a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Air Products & Chemicals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations 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, China Natural Resources ( CHNR), up 24.5%, PrimeEnergy ( PNRG), up 18.1%, Samson Oil & Gas ( SSN), up 11.5% and PostRock Energy ( PSTR), up 10.3% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Baker Hughes ( BHI) 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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