Ensco PLC (ESV): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

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Ensco ( ESV) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Ensco fell $1.95 (-3.4%) to $56.07 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 6,686,289 shares of Ensco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,124,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $55.42-$57.71 after having opened the day at $57.66 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.02. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: American Vanguard Corporation ( AVD), down 9.4%, Ikonics Corporation ( IKNX), down 7.9%, Exeter Resource Corporation ( XRA), down 7.3% and Albemarle ( ALB), down 7.2%.

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 has a market cap of $13.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Ensco a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ensco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

On the positive front, Syntroleum Corporation ( SYNM), up 35.8%, Andatee China Marine Fuel Services Corporat ( AMCF), up 24.8%, North American Palladium ( PAL), up 11.9% and Ivanhoe Energy ( IVAN), up 11.0% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Chevron ( CVX) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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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