Axiall Corp (AXLL): 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.

Axiall ( AXLL) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole closed the day up 0.6%. By the end of trading, Axiall fell $0.75 (-1.7%) to $44.39 on average volume. Throughout the day, 917,488 shares of Axiall exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 951,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $44.01-$45.67 after having opened the day at $45.05 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $45.14. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Whiting USA Trust I ( WHX), down 35.1%, Metabolix ( MBLX), down 14.3%, Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 11.8% and MagneGas Corporation ( MNGA), down 10.6%.

Axiall Corporation manufactures and markets chemicals and building products in North America. The company operates through three segments: Chlorovinyls, Building Products, and Aromatics. Axiall has a market cap of $3.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 4.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate Axiall a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Axiall as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the positive front, Constellation Energy Partners ( CEP), up 11.4%, Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), up 10.6%, International Tower Hill Mines ( THM), up 9.1% and Eurasian Minerals ( EMXX), up 7.1% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Halliburton Company ( HAL) 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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