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.

One out of the three major indices traded up today The three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 43.83 points (-0.3%) at 16,808 as of Monday, June 30, 2014, 3:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,645 issues advancing vs. 1,339 declining with 178 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector as a whole closed the day up 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which was unchanged. Top gainers within the Basic Materials sector included Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), up 1.6%, CKX Lands ( CKX), up 1.7%, Alderon Iron Ore ( AXX), up 3.5%, Metabolix ( MBLX), up 7.4% and Lucas Energy ( LEI), up 4.7%.

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

Lucas Energy ( LEI) is one of the companies that pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today. Lucas Energy was up $0.03 (4.7%) to $0.61 on average volume. Throughout the day, 108,614 shares of Lucas Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 118,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.60-$0.62 after having opened the day at $0.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.58.

Lucas Energy, Inc. operates as an independent oil and gas company in Texas. Lucas Energy has a market cap of $19.8 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 39.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Lucas Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Lucas Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on LEI go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$1.01 million or 197.34% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • LEI's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 48.52%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, LUCAS ENERGY INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • LEI, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 3.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 29.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • LEI's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.24 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.46 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Lucas Energy Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

At the close, Metabolix ( MBLX) was up $0.06 (7.4%) to $0.87 on average volume. Throughout the day, 81,488 shares of Metabolix exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 69,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.81-$0.90 after having opened the day at $0.83 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.81.

Metabolix, Inc., a bioscience company, focuses on delivering sustainable solutions to the plastics and chemicals industries. It produces a family of biopolymers found in nature called polyhydroxyalkanoates, which occur naturally in living organisms and are chemically similar to polyesters. Metabolix has a market cap of $32.9 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 35.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Metabolix a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Ratings rates Metabolix as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MBLX go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Chemicals industry. The net income has decreased by 20.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from -$6.76 million to -$8.15 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, METABOLIX INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to -$8.97 million or 5.49% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, METABOLIX INC has marginally lower results.
  • Looking at the price performance of MBLX's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 33.34%, and it has underformed the S&P 500 Index. In addition, the company's earnings per share are lower today than the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • METABOLIX INC's earnings per share declined by 15.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past year. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, METABOLIX INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.88 versus $0.10 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.84 versus -$0.88).

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Metabolix Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Alderon Iron Ore ( AXX) was another company that pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today. Alderon Iron Ore was up $0.04 (3.5%) to $1.20 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 67,051 shares of Alderon Iron Ore exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17,300 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $1.15-$1.46 after having opened the day at $1.17 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.16.

Alderon Iron Ore has a market cap of $158.8 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 26.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on AXX go as follows:

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Alderon Iron Ore Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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.