Ultra Petroleum Corporation ( UPL) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 1.6%. By the end of trading, Ultra Petroleum Corporation fell $0.23 (-1.1%) to $20.78 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,177,216 shares of Ultra Petroleum Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,399,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $20.41-$21.30 after having opened the day at $21.17 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.01. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Sibanye Gold Ltd ADR ( SBGL), down 38.9%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), down 18.3%, Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), down 12.0% and BioAmber ( BIOA), down 7.1%.

Ultra Petroleum Corp., an independent oil and gas company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and operation of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. Ultra Petroleum Corporation has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 15.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Ultra Petroleum Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 13 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ultra Petroleum Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

On the positive front, Minco Gold Corporation ( MGH), up 19.4%, Golden Star Resources ( GSS), up 17.5%, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), up 14.3% and BPZ Resources ( BPZ), up 13.8% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Suncor Energy ( SU) 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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