Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Valero Energy Corporation fell $0.48 (-1.3%) to $35.38 on light volume. Throughout the day, 5,496,139 shares of Valero Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,449,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $35.24-$36.05 after having opened the day at $35.94 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.86. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Sibanye Gold Ltd ADR ( SBGL), down 41.6%, BMB Munai ( BMBM), down 20.6%, Crosshair Energy ( CXZ), down 13.3% and MagneGas Corporation ( MNGA), down 9.5%.

Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Ethanol, and Retail. Valero Energy Corporation has a market cap of $18.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 1.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Valero Energy Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), up 35.9%, Flexible Solutions International ( FSI), up 14.4%, Endeavour Silver Corporation ( EXK), up 11.4% and Prospect Global Resources ( PGRX), up 11.2% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Plains All American Pipeline ( PAA) 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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