5 Basic Materials Stocks Pushing Sector Growth

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.

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 57 points (-0.3%) at 16,357 as of Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,698 issues advancing vs. 1,213 declining with 185 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG), up 2.5%, Anadarko Petroleum ( APC), up 2.4%, Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), up 2.1%, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR), up 1.6% and Vale ( VALE), up 1.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Penn West Petroleum ( PWE), down 8.4%, Eastman Chemical Company ( EMN), down 2.7%, Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM), down 2.4%, Teck Resources ( TCK), down 2.3% and Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), down 2.2%.

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

5. Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.B) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Royal Dutch Shell is up $0.88 (1.2%) to $75.65 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Royal Dutch Shell exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $75.35-$75.88 after having opened the day at $75.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $74.77.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $234.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, 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 has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Royal Dutch Shell 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, Southwestern Energy Company ( SWN) is up $1.37 (3.4%) to $41.70 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.9 million shares of Southwestern Energy Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $41.09-$41.93 after having opened the day at $41.30 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $40.33.

Southwestern Energy Company, an independent energy company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of natural gas and oil primarily in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Exploration and Production, and Midstream Services. Southwestern Energy Company has a market cap of $13.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Southwestern Energy Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 19 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southwestern Energy Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, 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 generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Southwestern Energy Company 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, Noble Energy ( NBL) is up $0.83 (1.3%) to $64.90 on light volume. Thus far, 819,946 shares of Noble Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $64.43-$65.47 after having opened the day at $64.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $64.07.

Noble Energy, Inc., an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids primarily in the United States, West Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean. Noble Energy has a market cap of $23.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 21.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 5.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 9 analysts who rate Noble Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Noble Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Noble Energy 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, Range Resources Corporation ( RRC) is up $1.99 (2.3%) to $86.92 on average volume. Thus far, 886,955 shares of Range Resources Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $86.26-$88.24 after having opened the day at $88.16 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $84.93.

Range Resources Corporation operates as an independent natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and oil company in the United States. It engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas and oil properties. Range Resources Corporation has a market cap of $13.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 96.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 0.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 11 analysts who rate Range Resources Corporation a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Range Resources Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and premium valuation. Get the full Range Resources Corporation 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, Continental Resources ( CLR) is up $1.73 (1.6%) to $112.19 on light volume. Thus far, 492,831 shares of Continental Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $110.71-$113.34 after having opened the day at $111.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $110.46.

Continental Resources, Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas properties in the north, south, and east regions of the United States. Continental Resources has a market cap of $20.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.4, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 1.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 14 analysts who rate Continental Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Continental Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Continental Resources 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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