3 Stocks Dragging 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.

One out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 42 points (-0.2%) at 17,072 as of Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,641 issues advancing vs. 1,297 declining with 186 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include YPF Sociedad Anonima ( YPF), down 3.7%, and Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR), down 2.9%. Top gainers within the sector include Talisman Energy ( TLM), up 11.3%, FMC Technologies ( FTI), up 3.2%, PetroChina ( PTR), up 2.5%, POSCO ( PKX), up 2.2% and China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP), up 1.9%.

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 $0.12 (-0.9%) to $14.30 on average volume. Thus far, 10.2 million shares of Vale exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 17.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $14.27-$14.51 after having opened the day at $14.37 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $14.43.

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 $74.2 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 5.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Vale a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 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.

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, Monsanto ( MON) is down $1.82 (-1.5%) to $116.95 on heavy volume. Thus far, 3.4 million shares of Monsanto exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $116.63-$118.79 after having opened the day at $118.34 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $118.77.

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 $63.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 1.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full Monsanto 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, EOG Resources ( EOG) is down $0.92 (-0.8%) to $115.63 on average volume. Thus far, 1.5 million shares of EOG Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $115.52-$116.70 after having opened the day at $116.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $116.55.

EOG Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, explores for, develops, produces, and markets crude oil and natural gas. EOG Resources has a market cap of $64.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 38.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 21 analysts that rate EOG Resources a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates EOG Resources as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full EOG 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.

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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