3 Stocks Pulling 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.

Two out of the three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 68 points (0.4%) at 17,048 as of Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,747 issues advancing vs. 1,215 declining with 171 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.3%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Cameco ( CCJ), down 4.9%, Agnico Eagle Mines ( AEM), down 4.3%, Goldcorp ( GG), down 3.5%, Franco-Nevada ( FNV), down 3.3% and Silver Wheaton ( SLW), down 2.9%. Top gainers within the sector include Total ( TOT), up 1.2%, Crescent Point Energy ( CPG), up 1.2%, Tenaris ( TS), up 0.8%, Imperial Oil ( IMO), up 0.7% and Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE), up 0.7%.

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

3. Alcoa ( AA) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Alcoa is down $0.20 (-1.2%) to $16.30 on light volume. Thus far, 4.6 million shares of Alcoa exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $16.26-$16.52 after having opened the day at $16.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.50.

Alcoa Inc. produces and manages primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company operates in four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Global Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. Alcoa has a market cap of $19.3 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 55.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Alcoa a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alcoa as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full Alcoa 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, Williams Companies ( WMB) is down $0.38 (-0.7%) to $58.26 on light volume. Thus far, 1.5 million shares of Williams Companies exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $58.17-$58.68 after having opened the day at $58.53 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $58.65.

The Williams Companies, Inc. operates as an energy infrastructure company. Williams Companies has a market cap of $43.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 52.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Williams Companies a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Williams Companies as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Williams Companies 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, Monsanto ( MON) is down $2.50 (-2.1%) to $118.42 on heavy volume. Thus far, 3.4 million shares of Monsanto exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $117.97-$121.23 after having opened the day at $121.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $120.92.

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 $62.9 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 3.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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 shows weak operating cash flow. 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.

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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