Monsanto Company (MON): Today's Featured Chemicals Winner

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.

Monsanto Company ( MON) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day down 0.6%. By the end of trading, Monsanto Company rose $1.14 (1.1%) to $110.02 on average volume. Throughout the day, 3,147,984 shares of Monsanto Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2,615,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $108.57-$110.68 after having opened the day at $108.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $108.88. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Quaker Chemical Corporation ( KWR), up 5.2%, Platform Specialty Products ( PAH), up 4.0%, Ikonics Corporation ( IKNX), up 3.6% and Marrone Bio Innovations ( MBII), up 2.9%.

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto Company has a market cap of $57.2 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 6.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 9 analysts that rate Monsanto Company a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto Company 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, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

On the negative front, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), down 15.9%, Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX), down 10.8%, Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 10.1% and Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), down 8.5% , were all laggards within the chemicals industry with Ashland ( ASH) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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