Praxair Inc (PX): Today's Featured Basic Materials Winner

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.

Praxair ( PX) pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today making it today's featured basic materials winner. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Praxair rose $2.09 (1.6%) to $130.55 on average volume. Throughout the day, 1,711,533 shares of Praxair exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1,242,500 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $128.39-$130.71 after having opened the day at $128.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $128.46. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that increased today were: FX Energy ( FXEN), up 21.5%, China Gengsheng Minerals ( CHGS), up 9.9%, Tengasco ( TGC), up 9.2% and US Silica Holdings ( SLCA), up 9.1%.

Praxair, Inc. produces, sells, and distributes atmospheric, process, and specialty gases, as well as surface coatings in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. Praxair has a market cap of $37.9 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 0.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 10 analysts that rate Praxair a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Praxair as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

On the negative front, Lihua International ( LIWA), down 52.2%, International Tower Hill Mines ( THM), down 7.0%, SM Energy ( SM), down 7.0% and Vista Gold ( VGZ), down 6.5% , were all laggards within the basic materials sector with Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD) being today's basic materials sector laggard.

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).

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