3 Stocks Dragging The Basic Materials Sector Downward

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 137 points (0.8%) at 16,460 as of Monday, March 31, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,329 issues advancing vs. 681 declining with 134 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.5% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.9%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Axiall ( AXLL), down 17.5%, Anglogold Ashanti ( AU), down 3.2%, Goldcorp ( GG), down 2.1%, Barrick Gold Corporation ( ABX), down 2.0% and Continental Resources ( CLR), down 1.9%. Top gainers within the sector include Alcoa ( AA), up 3.6%, Celanese Corporation ( CE), up 2.6%, YPF Sociedad Anonima ( YPF), up 2.3%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), up 1.9% and PPG Industries ( PPG), up 1.7%.

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

3. Hess ( HES) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Hess is down $0.67 (-0.8%) to $82.55 on light volume. Thus far, 890,370 shares of Hess exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $82.55-$83.56 after having opened the day at $83.56 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $83.22.

Hess Corporation, an exploration and production (E&P) company, develops, produces, purchases, transports, and sells crude oil and natural gas worldwide. It operates through two segments, E&P, and Retail Marketing and Other. Hess has a market cap of $26.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 0.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Hess a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Hess as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Hess Ratings Report now.

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

2. As of noon trading, Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM) is down $0.38 (-1.6%) to $23.54 on light volume. Thus far, 3.9 million shares of Newmont Mining Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 10.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $23.53-$24.10 after having opened the day at $23.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $23.92.

Newmont Mining Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, acquires, explores for, and produces gold, copper, and silver deposits. The company's assets or operations are located in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, New Zealand, Mexico, and Suriname. Newmont Mining Corporation has a market cap of $11.4 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 3.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 2 analysts that rate Newmont Mining Corporation a buy, 5 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Newmont Mining Corporation as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share. Get the full Newmont Mining Corporation Ratings Report now.

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

1. As of noon trading, Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) is down $0.32 (-1.3%) to $25.34 on light volume. Thus far, 3.4 million shares of Chesapeake Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $25.13-$25.72 after having opened the day at $25.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $25.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, and development of properties for the production of natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids (NGL) from underground reservoirs in the United States. Chesapeake Energy has a market cap of $17.2 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 5.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Chesapeake Energy a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 19 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Chesapeake Energy as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full Chesapeake Energy Ratings Report now.

STOCKS TO BUY: 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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