3 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Basic Materials Sector

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 down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 4 points (0.0%) at 16,511 as of Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,718 issues advancing vs. 1,280 declining with 133 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.1%. Top gainers within the sector include FMC Technologies ( FTI), up 5.1%, Newmont Mining ( NEM), up 3.2%, Suncor Energy ( SU), up 2.9%, Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), up 2.5% and Halliburton ( HAL), up 2.4%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Statoil ASA ( STO), down 1.4%, Total ( TOT), down 1.2%, LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB), down 1.1%, Ecopetrol ( EC), down 0.9% and Southern Copper ( SCCO), down 0.9%.

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

3. Cabot Oil & Gas ( COG) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Cabot Oil & Gas is up $0.62 (1.7%) to $36.27 on average volume. Thus far, 4.2 million shares of Cabot Oil & Gas exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $35.73-$36.59 after having opened the day at $35.96 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $35.65.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, an independent oil and gas company, is engaged in the development, exploitation, exploration, production, and marketing of natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids in the United States. Cabot Oil & Gas has a market cap of $14.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 17 analysts who rate Cabot Oil & Gas a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Cabot Oil & Gas as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Get the full Cabot Oil & Gas Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV) is up $0.71 (0.9%) to $82.94 on light volume. Thus far, 1.1 million shares of National Oilwell Varco exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $82.10-$83.15 after having opened the day at $82.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $82.23.

National Oilwell Varco, Inc. provides equipment and components for oil and gas drilling and production; oilfield services; and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry worldwide. National Oilwell Varco has a market cap of $35.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 3.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 12 analysts who rate National Oilwell Varco a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates National Oilwell Varco as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full National Oilwell Varco Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is up $0.61 (1.2%) to $49.55 on heavy volume. Thus far, 7.4 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $49.41-$50.64 after having opened the day at $50.21 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.94.

The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies chemical products for use as raw materials in the manufacture of customer products and services worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $59.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 10.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate Dow Chemical a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 11 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dow Chemical as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Dow Chemical Ratings Report now.

3x UPSIDE POTENTIAL: 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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