3 Basic Materials Stocks Dragging The Sector Down

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 105 points (0.6%) at 16,554 as of Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,226 issues advancing vs. 749 declining with 155 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.6%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Continental Resources ( CLR), down 1.1%, Statoil ASA ( STO), down 1.1% and Ecopetrol S.A ( EC), down 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include Celanese Corporation ( CE), up 4.2%, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation ( SNP), up 3.3%, Magellan Midstream Partners L.P ( MMP), up 2.3%, Sherwin-Williams Company ( SHW), up 2.1% and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX), up 1.1%.

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

3. Vale ( VALE) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Vale is down $0.10 (-0.7%) to $13.70 on average volume. Thus far, 11.5 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 22.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $13.67-$13.86 after having opened the day at $13.78 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.80.

Vale S.A. is engaged in the research, production, and sale of iron ore and pellets, nickel, fertilizer, copper, coal, manganese, ferroalloys, cobalt, platinum group metals, and precious metals. Vale has a market cap of $75.7 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 9.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Vale a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vale as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Vale 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, EOG Resources ( EOG) is down $0.99 (-1.0%) to $102.54 on light volume. Thus far, 1.4 million shares of EOG Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $102.11-$103.27 after having opened the day at $103.27 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.53.

EOG Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, explores for, develops, produces, and markets crude oil and natural gas. EOG Resources has a market cap of $56.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 23.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 21 analysts that rate EOG Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates EOG Resources 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full EOG Resources 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, ConocoPhillips ( COP) is down $0.39 (-0.5%) to $74.21 on average volume. Thus far, 2.5 million shares of ConocoPhillips exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 5.8 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $73.94-$74.69 after having opened the day at $74.39 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $74.60.

ConocoPhillips explores for, develops, and produces crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids worldwide. ConocoPhillips has a market cap of $91.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 5.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 4 analysts that rate ConocoPhillips a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ConocoPhillips as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full ConocoPhillips 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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