5 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Lower

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 14 points (0.1%) at 16,456 as of Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,718 issues advancing vs. 1,181 declining with 172 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation ( SNP), down 1.8%, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO), down 1.7%, Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), down 1.5%, Continental Resources ( CLR), down 1.5% and PetroChina ( PTR), down 1.4%.

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

5. Williams Companies ( WMB) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Williams Companies is down $0.43 (-1.1%) to $37.85 on light volume. Thus far, 2.0 million shares of Williams Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.80-$38.39 after having opened the day at $38.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $38.28.

The Williams Companies, Inc. operates as an energy infrastructure company. Williams Companies has a market cap of $26.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 0.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Williams Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Companies as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Williams Companies Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC) is down $1.54 (-1.7%) to $87.94 on light volume. Thus far, 956,780 shares of Marathon Petroleum exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $87.88-$90.25 after having opened the day at $89.79 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $89.48.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in refining, transporting, and marketing petroleum products primarily in the United States. It operates through Refining & Marketing, Speedway, and Pipeline Transportation segments. Marathon Petroleum has a market cap of $27.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 2.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Marathon Petroleum a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marathon Petroleum as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels 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 Marathon Petroleum Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, Pioneer Natural Resources Company ( PXD) is down $1.75 (-1.0%) to $174.78 on light volume. Thus far, 568,126 shares of Pioneer Natural Resources Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $174.46-$178.33 after having opened the day at $176.32 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $176.53.

Pioneer Natural Resources Company operates as an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States. The company produces and sells oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and gas. Pioneer Natural Resources Company has a market cap of $25.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Pioneer Natural Resources Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Pioneer Natural Resources Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, compelling growth in net income 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. Get the full Pioneer Natural Resources Company Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) is down $0.30 (-0.8%) to $37.34 on light volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.31-$37.77 after having opened the day at $37.55 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.63.

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 $39.2 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are unchanged year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 13 analysts that rate Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 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, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. 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.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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, Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO) is down $0.63 (-1.3%) to $49.24 on light volume. Thus far, 2.4 million shares of Valero Energy Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $48.98-$49.98 after having opened the day at $49.95 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $49.87.

Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company. The company operates through three segments: Refining, Ethanol, and Retail. Valero Energy Corporation has a market cap of $27.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 1.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 11 analysts that rate Valero Energy Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures 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 Valero Energy Corporation Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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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