5 Basic Materials Stocks Pushing Sector Growth

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 12 points (0.1%) at 14,943 as of Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,432 issues advancing vs. 1,453 declining with 120 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR), up 5.5%, Schlumberger ( SLB), up 2.0%, Halliburton Company ( HAL), up 2.0%, Vale ( VALE), up 1.2% and Dow Chemical ( DOW), up 1.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM), down 3.7%, and Goldcorp ( GG), down 2.5%.

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

5. PetroChina ( PTR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, PetroChina is up $1.89 (1.7%) to $111.30 on average volume. Thus far, 77,113 shares of PetroChina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 187,000 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $111.01-$111.94 after having opened the day at $111.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $109.41.

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 $203.3 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 23.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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, increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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.

4. As of noon trading, Ensco PLC Class A ( ESV) is up $2.18 (4.1%) to $55.64 on heavy volume. Thus far, 1.3 million shares of Ensco PLC Class A exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $54.07-$55.65 after having opened the day at $54.08 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $53.46.

Ensco plc provides offshore contract drilling services to the oil and gas industry worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Floaters, Jackups, and Other. Ensco PLC Class A has a market cap of $12.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Ensco PLC Class A a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ensco PLC Class A 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, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Ensco PLC Class A 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, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A) is up $0.85 (5.9%) to $15.20 on average volume. Thus far, 5.5 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $14.46-$15.28 after having opened the day at $14.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $14.35.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras operates as an integrated oil and gas company in Brazil and internationally. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $93.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 25.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins. Get the full Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras 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, BP ( BP) is up $0.28 (0.7%) to $41.68 on light volume. Thus far, 1.2 million shares of BP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $41.38-$41.71 after having opened the day at $41.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.41.

BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. BP has a market cap of $130.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate BP a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, impressive record of earnings per share growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full BP 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, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV) is up $1.37 (1.8%) to $77.46 on average volume. Thus far, 1.8 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $76.19-$77.46 after having opened the day at $76.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $76.09.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. provides equipment and components for oil and gas drilling and production; oilfield services; and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $32.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 11.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full National Oilwell Varco 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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