3 Stocks Advancing The Basic Materials Sector

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 traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 55 points (0.3%) at 16,707 as of Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, 3:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,989 issues advancing vs. 996 declining with 174 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector as a whole closed the day down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which was up 0.4%. Top gainers within the Basic Materials sector included Timberline Resources ( TLR), up 5.8%, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), up 1.8%, Oxford Resource Partners ( OXF), up 5.9%, Tengasco ( TGC), up 2.0% and Houston American Energy ( HUSA), up 2.2%.

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

Houston American Energy ( HUSA) is one of the companies that pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today. Houston American Energy was up $0.00 (2.2%) to $0.24 on light volume. Throughout the day, 106,615 shares of Houston American Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 221,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.22-$0.25 after having opened the day at $0.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.23.

Houston American Energy Corp., an independent energy company, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and condensate from properties located principally in the Gulf Coast area of the United States and South America. Houston American Energy has a market cap of $12.5 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 8.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Houston American 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 Houston American Energy as a sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on HUSA go as follows:

  • HUSA'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 30.31%, 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, HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP is currently very high, coming in at 74.53%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -504.71% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$0.70 million or 19.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -7.19%.
  • HUSA has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 35.70, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Houston American 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, Oxford Resource Partners ( OXF) was up $0.06 (5.9%) to $1.02 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,114 shares of Oxford Resource Partners exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 35,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.99-$1.02 after having opened the day at $0.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.96.

Oxford Resource Partners, LP produces and markets thermal coal in the United States. The company markets its thermal coal to utilities, industrial customers, municipalities, and other coal-related entities. Oxford Resource Partners has a market cap of $10.2 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 21.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Oxford Resource Partners a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates 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 Oxford Resource Partners as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on OXF go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $4.78 million or 8.44% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, OXFORD RESOURCE PARTNERS LP has marginally lower results.
  • The gross profit margin for OXFORD RESOURCE PARTNERS LP is rather low; currently it is at 18.17%. Regardless of OXF's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, OXF's net profit margin of -3.53% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • OXF'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 56.12%, 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.
  • OXFORD RESOURCE PARTNERS LP has improved earnings per share by 47.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, OXFORD RESOURCE PARTNERS LP continued to lose money by earning -$1.07 versus -$1.27 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 14.0% in earnings (-$1.22 versus -$1.07).
  • OXF, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Oxford Resource Partners 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.

Timberline Resources ( TLR) was another company that pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today. Timberline Resources was up $0.01 (5.8%) to $0.13 on light volume. Throughout the day, 12,175 shares of Timberline Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 123,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.12-$0.13 after having opened the day at $0.12 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.12.

Timberline Resources has a market cap of $9.7 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 31.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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.

More from Markets

Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Ford - 5 Things You Must Know

Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Ford - 5 Things You Must Know

Facebook Set for Biggest Gain in Two Years After Q1 Earnings Top Forecasts

Facebook Set for Biggest Gain in Two Years After Q1 Earnings Top Forecasts

Global Stocks Mixed, U.S. Futures Soften as Earnings, Oil, Rates Cloud Sentiment

Global Stocks Mixed, U.S. Futures Soften as Earnings, Oil, Rates Cloud Sentiment

European Automakers Gain on Reports China Mulling Auto Tariff Reduction

European Automakers Gain on Reports China Mulling Auto Tariff Reduction

Deutsche Bank Plans 'Significant' Job Cuts as Q1 Profits Slump

Deutsche Bank Plans 'Significant' Job Cuts as Q1 Profits Slump