Agrium Inc (AGU): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

Agrium ( AGU) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Agrium rose $3.05 (3.5%) to $91.43 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 1,597,380 shares of Agrium exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 881,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $87.94-$92.21 after having opened the day at $88.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $88.38. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: Lightbridge ( LTBR), up 96.9%, USEC ( USU), up 51.1%, Uranium Resources ( URRE), up 28.2% and Tasman Metals ( TAS), up 24.4%.

Agrium Inc. engages in the retail of agricultural products and services. The company operates through three segments: Retail, Wholesale, and Advanced Technologies. Agrium has a market cap of $13.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 11.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Agrium a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Agrium as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the negative front, Turquoise Hill Resources ( TRQ), down 19.7%, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), down 14.9%, Entree Gold ( EGI), down 11.5% and Genie Energy Ltd Common Stock B ( GNE), down 7.8% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with BP ( BP) 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).

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.
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