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 16 points (0.1%) at 16,549 as of Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,112 issues advancing vs. 834 declining with 184 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.4%. Top gainers within the sector include Anadarko Petroleum ( APC), up 1.6%, Phillips 66 ( PSX), up 1.2% and China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP), up 0.7%.

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

3. Ecopetrol ( EC) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Ecopetrol is down $0.26 (-0.7%) to $37.48 on light volume. Thus far, 177,731 shares of Ecopetrol exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 570,800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $37.40-$37.92 after having opened the day at $37.92 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $37.74.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, is engaged in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas primarily in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and the United States Gulf Coast. Ecopetrol has a market cap of $76.6 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 1.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there is 1 analyst that rates Ecopetrol a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ecopetrol as a buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its revenue growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Ecopetrol 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, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.B) is down $3.19 (-3.7%) to $83.02 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.1 million shares of Royal Dutch Shell exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 640,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $82.52-$83.17 after having opened the day at $82.61 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $86.21.

Royal Dutch Shell plc operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. Royal Dutch Shell has a market cap of $274.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 14.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Royal Dutch Shell as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Royal Dutch Shell 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.A) is down $0.16 (-1.0%) to $15.74 on light volume. Thus far, 4.0 million shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 11.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $15.68-$16.13 after having opened the day at $16.04 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $15.90.

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 $101.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 8.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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 deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. 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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