Basic Materials Stocks On The Rise With Help From 3 Stocks

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 21 points (0.1%) at 16,839 as of Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,709 issues advancing vs. 1,282 declining with 166 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Schlumberger ( SLB), up 4.7%, Pioneer Natural Resources ( PXD), up 3.8%, Devon Energy ( DVN), up 2.0%, EOG Resources ( EOG), up 2.0% and Baker Hughes ( BHI), up 1.9%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Valero Energy ( VLO), down 10.3%, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), down 7.9%, Phillips 66 ( PSX), down 5.1%, Statoil ASA ( STO), down 1.4% and Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM), down 1.0%.

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

3. Continental Resources ( CLR) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Continental Resources is up $4.11 (2.7%) to $155.51 on average volume. Thus far, 605,789 shares of Continental Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 972,100 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $151.19-$156.10 after having opened the day at $151.40 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $151.40.

Continental Resources, Inc. is engaged in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas properties in the north, south, and east regions of the United States. Continental Resources has a market cap of $29.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 34.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 13 analysts who rate Continental Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

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

2. As of noon trading, Vale ( VALE) is up $0.26 (2.0%) to $13.16 on light volume. Thus far, 6.0 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 19.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $12.95-$13.16 after having opened the day at $13.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $12.90.

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 $66.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 15.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Vale a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Vale as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Vale 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.

1. As of noon trading, Monsanto ( MON) is up $6.20 (5.1%) to $126.84 on heavy volume. Thus far, 8.0 million shares of Monsanto exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $126.00-$128.79 after having opened the day at $126.13 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $120.63.

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto has a market cap of $64.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 3.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 13 analysts who rate Monsanto a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Monsanto 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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