4 Stocks Driving The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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.

All three major indices are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 41 points (-0.3%) at 14,800 as of Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 850 issues advancing vs. 2,040 declining with 117 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.3%. Top gainers within the sector include Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT), up 0.9%, and Monsanto Company ( MON), up 1.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), down 2.2%, Total ( TOT), down 1.4%, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR), down 1.2%, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A), down 1.1% and BP ( BP), down 0.6%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 4 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

4. Imperial Oil ( IMO) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Imperial Oil is up $0.29 (0.7%) to $42.28 on light volume. Thus far, 57,980 shares of Imperial Oil exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 216,800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.10-$42.38 after having opened the day at $42.14 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.99.

Imperial Oil Limited engages in the exploration, production, and sale of crude oil and natural gas in Canada. The company operates through three segments: Upstream, Downstream, and Chemical. Imperial Oil has a market cap of $36.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Imperial Oil a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Imperial Oil as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Imperial Oil 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, PetroChina ( PTR) is up $1.34 (1.2%) to $108.79 on average volume. Thus far, 69,771 shares of PetroChina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 181,400 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $107.41-$108.84 after having opened the day at $108.09 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $107.45.

PetroChina Company Limited produces and sells oil and gas in the People's Republic of China. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. PetroChina has a market cap of $197.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 25.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate PetroChina a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PetroChina as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full PetroChina 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, Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile ( SQM) is up $1.24 (4.9%) to $26.74 on average volume. Thus far, 556,964 shares of Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $25.30-$26.74 after having opened the day at $25.36 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.50.

Chemical and Mining Company of Chile Inc. engages in the production and distribution of specialty plant nutrients, iodine and its derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride and potassium sulfate, industrial chemicals, and other commodity fertilizers. Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile has a market cap of $6.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 55.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile as a hold. 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 and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share. Get the full Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile 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, Apache Corporation ( APA) is up $5.96 (7.6%) to $84.60 on heavy volume. Thus far, 8.4 million shares of Apache Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $84.15-$85.22 after having opened the day at $84.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $78.64.

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids. Apache Corporation has a market cap of $30.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Apache Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Apache Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Apache Corporation 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 4 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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