3 Stocks Pulling 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 87 points (0.5%) at 16,606 as of Thursday, May 8, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,938 issues advancing vs. 1,065 declining with 159 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Continental Resources ( CLR), down 5.7%, Sunoco Logistics Partners ( SXL), down 3.3%, Plains All American Pipeline ( PAA), down 3.1%, Devon Energy ( DVN), down 2.8% and Energy Transfer Partners ( ETP), down 2.3%. Top gainers within the sector include Total ( TOT), up 1.9%, Spectra Energy ( SE), up 1.6%, China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP), up 1.0%, PetroChina ( PTR), up 0.8% and Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.B), up 0.7%.

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 $0.22 (-1.6%) to $13.33 on average volume. Thus far, 9.9 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 21.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $13.21-$13.61 after having opened the day at $13.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.55.

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 $69.0 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 11.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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. 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, Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD) is down $2.98 (-1.4%) to $205.22 on average volume. Thus far, 723,248 shares of Pioneer Natural Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $204.97-$208.60 after having opened the day at $206.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $208.20.

Pioneer Natural Resources Company operates as an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States. The company produces and sells oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and gas. Pioneer Natural Resources has a market cap of $28.4 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 13.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 15 analysts that rate Pioneer Natural Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Pioneer Natural Resources 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 deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full Pioneer Natural 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, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR) is down $0.33 (-2.1%) to $15.33 on average volume. Thus far, 16.0 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 24.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $14.99-$15.85 after having opened the day at $15.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.66.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras operates as an integrated oil and gas company in Brazil and internationally. Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras has a market cap of $99.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 13.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts that rate Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins. Get the full Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras 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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