Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras (PBR.A): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

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.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.1%. By the end of trading, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras fell $0.50 (-4.1%) to $11.66 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,445,942 shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,300,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $11.55-$11.95 after having opened the day at $11.88 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.16. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), down 32.9%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), down 15.9%, Recon Technology ( RCON), down 11.7% and Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX), down 10.8%.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras operates as an integrated oil and gas company in Brazil and internationally. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $76.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 17.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

On the positive front, Willbros Group ( WG), up 13.0%, Dril-Quip ( DRQ), up 12.2%, MagneGas Corporation ( MNGA), up 8.4% and North American Palladium ( PAL), up 8.3% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Pioneer Natural Resources Company ( PXD) being today's featured basic materials sector leader.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, 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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