Mosaic Co (MOS): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

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Mosaic ( MOS) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day down 0.6%. By the end of trading, Mosaic fell $9.15 (-17.3%) to $43.81 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 59,128,304 shares of Mosaic exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,231,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $39.95-$43.99 after having opened the day at $40.54 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $52.96. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Lone Pine Resources ( LPR), down 41.4%, USEC ( USU), down 32.9%, Intrepid Potash ( IPI), down 28.6% and Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 20.0%.

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agriculture industry worldwide. It operates in two segments, Phosphates and Potash. Mosaic has a market cap of $15.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 6.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Mosaic a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Mosaic as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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, Oxford Resource Partners ( OXF), up 21.1%, Cardero Resources Corporation ( CDY), up 20.5%, Timberline Resources Corporation ( TLR), up 12.2% and Barnwell Industries ( BRN), up 9.5% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Praxair ( PX) 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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