3 Basic Materials Stocks Driving The 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 11 points (0.1%) at 16,218 as of Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 11:55 AM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,600 issues advancing vs. 1,298 declining with 186 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 2.7%, Phillips 66 ( PSX), up 2.1%, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ( KMP), up 1.7%, EOG Resources ( EOG), up 1.7% and Kinder Morgan ( KMI), up 1.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Halliburton Company ( HAL), down 2.1%, Baker Hughes ( BHI), down 1.8%, Tenaris ( TS), down 1.6%, Apache Corporation ( APA), down 1.6% and Hess ( HES), down 1.2%.

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

3. PPG Industries ( PPG) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, PPG Industries is up $2.98 (1.6%) to $191.50 on light volume. Thus far, 305,652 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 902,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $188.30-$191.98 after having opened the day at $188.31 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $188.52.

PPG Industries, Inc. operates as a coatings and specialty products company. PPG Industries has a market cap of $26.3 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 10 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.

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2. As of noon trading, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD) is up $0.50 (0.8%) to $65.08 on light volume. Thus far, 1.2 million shares of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $64.40-$65.18 after having opened the day at $64.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $64.58.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company operates as a science and technology based company worldwide. Its Agriculture segment provides corn hybrid, soybean, canola, sunflower, sorghum, inoculants, wheat, and rice seed products under the Pioneer brand; and herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company has a market cap of $60.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is up $0.42 (0.9%) to $47.37 on light volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $46.84-$47.57 after having opened the day at $47.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $46.95.

The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies chemical products for use as raw materials in the manufacture of customer products and services worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $57.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 5.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate Dow Chemical a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 11 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, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. 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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