Vale SA (VALE): Today's Featured Basic Materials Laggard

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Vale ( VALE) pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today making it today's featured Basic Materials laggard. The sector as a whole was unchanged today. By the end of trading, Vale fell $0.20 (-1.5%) to $13.37 on light volume. Throughout the day, 14,077,211 shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 21,660,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $13.25-$13.65 after having opened the day at $13.54 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.57. Other companies within the Basic Materials sector that declined today were: Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 12.9%, Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), down 8.6%, Koppers Holdings ( KOP), down 8.0% and Kosmos Energy ( KOS), down 6.5%.

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 $69.9 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 11.0% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Vale a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 6 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.

On the positive front, GeoPark ( GPRK), up 12.5%, Houston American Energy ( HUSA), up 9.1%, Enservco ( ENSV), up 7.2% and Uranerz Energy ( URZ), up 6.7% , were all gainers within the basic materials sector with Monsanto ( MON) 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).

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