5 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 91 points (0.6%) at 15,720 as of Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,156 issues advancing vs. 753 declining with 162 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.6%. Top gainers within the sector include Statoil ASA ( STO), up 5.3%, Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO), up 2.9%, Goldcorp ( GG), up 2.6%, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 2.5% and Noble Energy ( NBL), up 2.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Baytex Energy ( BTE), down 5.7%, FMC Technologies ( FTI), down 3.5%, Encana ( ECA), down 2.6%, Ultrapar Holdings ( UGP), down 2.4% and Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation ( COG), down 1.9%.

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

5. PetroChina ( PTR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, PetroChina is up $0.81 (0.8%) to $97.78 on average volume. Thus far, 93,931 shares of PetroChina exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 178,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $97.39-$97.85 after having opened the day at $97.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $96.97.

PetroChina Company Limited produces and sells oil and gas in the People's Republic of China. The company operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. PetroChina has a market cap of $175.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 11.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate PetroChina a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PetroChina as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full PetroChina 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, Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO) is up $0.87 (3.1%) to $29.31 on light volume. Thus far, 834,721 shares of Southern Copper Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $28.59-$29.34 after having opened the day at $28.71 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $28.44.

Southern Copper Corporation engages in mining, exploring, producing, smelting, and refining copper and other minerals in Peru, Mexico, and Chile. Southern Copper Corporation has a market cap of $23.7 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 0.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Southern Copper Corporation a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Southern Copper Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, notable return on equity, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Southern Copper 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.

3. As of noon trading, Air Products & Chemicals ( APD) is up $1.68 (1.6%) to $108.92 on average volume. Thus far, 497,423 shares of Air Products & Chemicals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $107.68-$109.04 after having opened the day at $108.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $107.24.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment, and services worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Merchant Gases, Tonnage Gases, Electronics and Performance Materials, and Equipment and Energy. Air Products & Chemicals has a market cap of $22.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate Air Products & Chemicals a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Air Products & Chemicals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Air Products & Chemicals 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, PPG Industries ( PPG) is up $2.70 (1.5%) to $181.62 on light volume. Thus far, 255,557 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 858,000 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $180.50-$182.28 after having opened the day at $180.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $178.92.

PPG Industries, Inc. operates as a coatings and specialty products company. PPG Industries has a market cap of $25.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts who 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. 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 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.

1. As of noon trading, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV) is up $0.80 (1.1%) to $74.86 on average volume. Thus far, 1.5 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $74.10-$74.86 after having opened the day at $74.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $74.06.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. provides equipment and components for oil and gas drilling and production; oilfield services; and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $31.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 6.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 12 analysts who rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full National Oilwell Varco 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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