3 Stocks Driving The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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 up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 8 points (0.0%) at 17,140 as of Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,738 issues advancing vs. 1,242 declining with 174 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently is unchanged today versus the S&P 500, which is unchanged. Top gainers within the sector include Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR), up 1.7%, PetroChina ( PTR), up 1.7%, Tenaris ( TS), up 1.4%, Continental Resources ( CLR), up 1.3% and Dow Chemical ( DOW), up 1.2%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Sunoco Logistics Partners ( SXL), down 5.0%, National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), down 1.7%, Halliburton ( HAL), down 1.6%, Valero Energy ( VLO), down 1.5% and Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), down 1.5%.

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

3. Nucor ( NUE) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Nucor is up $2.43 (4.4%) to $58.05 on heavy volume. Thus far, 2.8 million shares of Nucor exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $57.25-$58.76 after having opened the day at $57.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $55.62.

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

Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. Nucor has a market cap of $17.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Nucor a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Nucor as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, impressive record of earnings per share growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Get the full Nucor 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, E I du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD) is up $2.98 (4.5%) to $68.81 on heavy volume. Thus far, 9.7 million shares of E I du Pont de Nemours & Company exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $68.19-$68.96 after having opened the day at $68.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $65.83.

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

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company operates as a science and technology based company worldwide. Its Agriculture segment provides corn hybrid, soybean, canola, sunflower, sorghum, inoculants, wheat, and rice seed products under the Pioneer brand; and herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. E I du Pont de Nemours & Company has a market cap of $59.8 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 1.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate E I du Pont de Nemours & Company a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates E I du Pont de Nemours & Company as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. Get the full E I du Pont de Nemours & Company 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, United States Steel ( X) is up $3.70 (8.9%) to $45.12 on heavy volume. Thus far, 15.3 million shares of United States Steel exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.7 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $44.61-$46.55 after having opened the day at $45.86 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $41.41.

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

United States Steel Corporation produces and sells flat-rolled and tubular steel products in North America and Europe. The company operates in three segments: Flat-Rolled Products (Flat-Rolled), U. S. Steel Europe (USSE), and Tubular Products (Tubular). United States Steel has a market cap of $5.8 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are up 40.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate United States Steel a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates United States Steel as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally higher debt management risk. Get the full United States Steel 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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