5 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Basic Materials Sector

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.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 4 points (0.0%) at 15,077 as of Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 933 issues advancing vs. 2,036 declining with 90 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), up 1.1%, and Goldcorp ( GG), up 1.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Marathon Oil ( MRO), down 3.4%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), down 2.5%, Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ), down 2.2%, Enterprise Products Partners ( EPD), down 1.9% and Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE), down 1.7%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 5 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

5. Companhia Siderurgica Nacional ( SID) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Companhia Siderurgica Nacional is up $0.19 (5.4%) to $3.69 on heavy volume. Thus far, 11.0 million shares of Companhia Siderurgica Nacional exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $3.54-$3.79 after having opened the day at $3.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.50.

Companhia Siderurgica Nacional operates as an integrated steel producer primarily in Brazil. The company principally produces carbon steel and various steel products for automotive, home appliance, packaging, construction, and steel processing industries. Companhia Siderurgica Nacional has a market cap of $4.9 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 40.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Companhia Siderurgica Nacional a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Companhia Siderurgica Nacional as a hold. The company's strongest point has been its a solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including meager revenue growth and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. Get the full Companhia Siderurgica Nacional Ratings Report now.

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

4. As of noon trading, Statoil ASA ( STO) is up $0.12 (0.5%) to $21.82 on heavy volume. Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Statoil ASA exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $21.79-$22.02 after having opened the day at $21.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $21.70.

Statoil ASA, an integrated energy company, engages in the exploration, production, transportation, refining, and marketing of petroleum and petroleum-derived products in Norway and internationally. Statoil ASA has a market cap of $69.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 13.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Statoil ASA a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Statoil ASA as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, 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 somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Statoil ASA Ratings Report now.

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

3. As of noon trading, Gerdau ( GGB) is up $0.26 (3.9%) to $7.02 on heavy volume. Thus far, 9.4 million shares of Gerdau exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $6.81-$7.15 after having opened the day at $6.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $6.76.

Gerdau S.A. engages in the production and commercialization of steel products worldwide. Gerdau has a market cap of $11.2 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 24.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Gerdau a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gerdau as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Gerdau Ratings Report now.

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

2. As of noon trading, Eastman Chemical Company ( EMN) is up $1.21 (1.6%) to $79.06 on average volume. Thus far, 545,667 shares of Eastman Chemical Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $77.60-$79.33 after having opened the day at $77.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $77.85.

Eastman Chemical Company, a specialty chemical company, engages in the manufacture and sale of chemicals, plastics, and fibers in the United States and internationally. Eastman Chemical Company has a market cap of $12.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 14.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Eastman Chemical Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Eastman Chemical Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Eastman Chemical Company Ratings Report now.

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

1. As of noon trading, Monsanto Company ( MON) is up $0.96 (1.0%) to $95.95 on average volume. Thus far, 1.2 million shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $94.92-$96.20 after having opened the day at $95.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $94.99.

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $52.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 0.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

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

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

If you are interested in one of these 5 stocks, 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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