5 Stocks Moving The Basic Materials Sector Upward

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 0 points (0.0%) at 15,915 as of Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 11:45 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,252 issues advancing vs. 1,627 declining with 137 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include Linn Energy ( LINE), up 4.4%, Continental Resources ( CLR), up 2.0%, Marathon Oil ( MRO), up 1.4%, Pioneer Natural Resources Company ( PXD), up 1.5% and Hess ( HES), up 1.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include El Paso Pipeline Partners ( EPB), down 8.9%, Kinder Morgan ( KMI), down 5.8%, Access Midstream Partners ( ACMP), down 3.3%, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP), down 2.0% and Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), down 1.7%.

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

5. Nucor ( NUE) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Nucor is up $1.37 (2.7%) to $51.92 on average volume. Thus far, 814,047 shares of Nucor exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $50.47-$51.99 after having opened the day at $50.57 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $50.55.

Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. Nucor has a market cap of $16.1 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 35.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 17.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Nucor a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nucor as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Nucor 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, Agrium ( AGU) is up $2.03 (2.2%) to $92.52 on heavy volume. Thus far, 914,399 shares of Agrium exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $90.25-$92.56 after having opened the day at $91.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $90.49.

Agrium Inc. engages in the retail of agricultural products and services. The company operates through three segments: Retail, Wholesale, and Advanced Technologies. Agrium has a market cap of $13.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 9.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Agrium a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 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, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations 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 Agrium 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, PPG Industries ( PPG) is up $2.80 (1.5%) to $184.46 on average volume. Thus far, 301,770 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 704,800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $181.71-$184.60 after having opened the day at $181.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $181.66.

PPG Industries, Inc. operates as a coatings and specialty products company. PPG Industries has a market cap of $26.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 35.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate PPG Industries a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPG Industries 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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full PPG Industries 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, CF Industries Holdings ( CF) is up $22.35 (10.4%) to $236.54 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.3 million shares of CF Industries Holdings exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 798,800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $225.00-$237.30 after having opened the day at $227.10 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $214.19.

CF Industries Holdings, Inc. manufactures and distributes nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer products worldwide. It operates in two segments, Nitrogen and Phosphate. CF Industries Holdings has a market cap of $12.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate CF Industries Holdings a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates CF Industries Holdings as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full CF Industries Holdings 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, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) is up $0.42 (1.2%) to $34.64 on light volume. Thus far, 3.4 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $34.23-$34.81 after having opened the day at $34.29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $34.22.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. engages in the exploration of mineral resource properties. The company primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt, silver, and other metals, such as rhenium and magnetite. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold has a market cap of $35.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations 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 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold 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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