Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

Occidental Petroleum Corporation ( OXY) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, Occidental Petroleum Corporation rose $1.08 (1.2%) to $90.84 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,181,420 shares of Occidental Petroleum Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,658,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $89.35-$91.09 after having opened the day at $90.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $89.76. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Kimber Resources ( KBX), up 16.6%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), up 14.9%, Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat ( AMCF), up 13.5% and Harvest Natural Resources ( HNR), up 12.7%.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation engages in the exploration and production of oil and gas properties in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Oil and Gas; Chemical; and Midstream, Marketing and Other. Occidental Petroleum Corporation has a market cap of $73.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 17.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Occidental Petroleum Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Occidental Petroleum Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Sibanye Gold Ltd ADR ( SBGL), down 50.9%, USEC ( USU), down 39.5%, Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), down 28.7% and Axiall ( AXLL), down 24.6% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX) 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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