4 Stocks Driving The Materials & Construction Industry 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.

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 61 points (0.4%) at 15,361 as of Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 12:50 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,640 issues advancing vs. 1,247 declining with 140 unchanged.

The Materials & Construction industry currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the industry include Masco Corporation ( MAS), up 0.7%, and Cemex S.A.B. de C.V ( CX), up 0.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the industry include Lennar Corporation ( LEN), down 3.0%, Meritage Homes Corporation ( MTH), down 2.3%, DR Horton ( DHI), down 2.4%, Foster Wheeler ( FWLT), down 1.6% and PulteGroup ( PHM), down 1.3%.

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

4. Gafisa ( GFA) is one of the companies pushing the Materials & Construction industry higher today. As of noon trading, Gafisa is up $0.14 (5.0%) to $2.98 on average volume. Thus far, 930,595 shares of Gafisa exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $2.85-$2.99 after having opened the day at $2.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $2.84.

Gafisa S.A. operates as a homebuilder in Brazil. The company operates in three segments: Gafisa, Tenda, and Alphaville. Gafisa has a market cap of $630.9 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 37.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Gafisa a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Gafisa as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself. Get the full Gafisa 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, MDU Resources Group ( MDU) is up $0.21 (0.8%) to $26.78 on light volume. Thus far, 73,472 shares of MDU Resources Group exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 600,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $26.59-$26.87 after having opened the day at $26.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.57.

Electric utility and natural gas services, (NYSE: MDU), diversified natural resource company that has six operating divisions: Electric, Natural Gas Distribution, Utility Services, Pipeline and Energy Services, Natural Gas and Oil Production, and Construction Materials and Mining. MDU Resources Group has a market cap of $5.0 billion and is part of the utilities sector. Shares are up 25.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate MDU Resources Group a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates MDU Resources Group as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full MDU Resources Group 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, USG ( USG) is up $0.21 (0.8%) to $26.32 on light volume. Thus far, 483,738 shares of USG exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $26.02-$26.48 after having opened the day at $26.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.11.

USG Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and distribution of building materials worldwide. The company operates in three reportable segments: North American Gypsum, Worldwide Ceilings, and Building Products Distribution. USG has a market cap of $2.8 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 6.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate USG a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates USG as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins. Get the full USG 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, Louisiana-Pacific ( LPX) is up $0.30 (1.8%) to $17.04 on average volume. Thus far, 1.6 million shares of Louisiana-Pacific exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $16.70-$17.15 after having opened the day at $16.78 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.74.

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in manufacturing and distributing building products for new home construction, repair and remodeling, manufactured housing, and light industrial and commercial construction. Louisiana-Pacific has a market cap of $2.4 billion and is part of the services sector. Shares are down 12.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Louisiana-Pacific a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Louisiana-Pacific 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, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Louisiana-Pacific 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 materials & construction industry could consider SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF ( XHB) while those bearish on the materials & construction industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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