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Agrium ( AGU) pushed the Chemicals industry lower today making it today's featured Chemicals laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Agrium fell $1.42 (-1.6%) to $88.27 on light volume. Throughout the day, 593,386 shares of Agrium exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 990,000 shares. The stock ranged in price between $87.57-$89.41 after having opened the day at $89.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $89.69. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that declined today were: Westlake Chemical Corporation ( WLK), down 3.3%, Metabolix ( MBLX), down 3.2%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), down 3.0% and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT), down 2.6%.

In addition to supplying wholesalers, Agrium operates more than 200 fertilizer retail outlets in the US in 22 states and nearly 40 retail farm centers in South America. Agrium has a market cap of $12.9 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 10.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Agrium a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Agrium 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 and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, REX American Resources ( REX), up 7.3%, Verenium Corporation ( VRNM), up 6.7%, Kraton Performance Polymers ( KRA), up 5.3% and Marrone Bio Innovations ( MBII), up 4.0% , were all gainers within the chemicals industry with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD) being today's featured chemicals industry leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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