3 Stocks Advancing The Basic Materials Sector

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 27 points (-0.2%) at 15,858 as of Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 997 issues advancing vs. 1,953 declining with 153 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.5% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.5%. Top gainers within the sector include Pembina Pipeline ( PBA), up 4.0%, Williams Companies ( WMB), up 3.3% and Ultrapar Holdings ( UGP), up 2.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include CGG ( CGG), down 16.9%, Tenaris ( TS), down 3.1%, BP ( BP), down 1.5%, Schlumberger ( SLB), down 1.2% and Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM), down 1.1%.

TheStreet would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the sector higher today:

3. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan ( POT) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan is up $0.36 (1.2%) to $31.10 on average volume. Thus far, 2.7 million shares of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.72-$31.14 after having opened the day at $30.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $30.74.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products primarily in the United States and Canada. The company mines and produces potash, which is used as fertilizer. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $26.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 24.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 14 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow. Get the full Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Monsanto Company ( MON) is up $0.57 (0.5%) to $111.53 on light volume. Thus far, 843,455 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $111.04-$112.43 after having opened the day at $111.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $110.96.

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $58.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 17.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, notable return on equity, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Monsanto Company Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is up $0.40 (1.0%) to $42.00 on average volume. Thus far, 5.0 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $41.58-$42.25 after having opened the day at $41.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.60.

The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies chemical products for use as raw materials worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $50.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 28.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Dow Chemical a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dow Chemical as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Dow Chemical 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 3 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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