BP PLC (BP): 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.

BP ( BP) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, BP fell $1.61 (-3.2%) to $49.00 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 9,569,133 shares of BP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5,125,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $48.89-$49.87 after having opened the day at $49.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $50.61. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Northern Dynasty Minerals ( NAK), down 16.2%, GSE ( GSE), down 13.9%, ZaZa Energy ( ZAZA), down 11.4% and Harsco Corporation ( HSC), down 10.2%.

BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. BP has a market cap of $156.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 4.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate BP a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates BP as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

On the positive front, North American Palladium ( PAL), up 17.0%, BioFuel Energy Corporation ( BIOF), up 16.5%, Compressco Partners ( GSJK), up 11.4% and Mines Management ( MGN), up 10.3% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Concho Resources ( CXO) 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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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