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The Basic Materials sector as a whole closed the day down 1.1% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.3%. Laggards within the Basic Materials sector included CKX Lands ( CKX), down 3.0%, Timberline Resources ( TLR), down 4.8%, Mines Management ( MGN), down 6.7%, Houston American Energy ( HUSA), down 2.2% and Escalera Resources ( ESCR), down 3.7%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

Houston American Energy ( HUSA) is one of the companies that pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today. Houston American Energy was down $0.00 (2.2%) to $0.22 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 224,533 shares of Houston American Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 142,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.20-$0.22 after having opened the day at $0.22 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.22.

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 $11.3 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 10.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Houston American 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 HUSA go as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.42 million or 135.29% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • HUSA has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 21.43% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • 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 rather high; currently it is at 67.16%. 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 -1020.89% is in-line with the industry average.
  • 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 53.71, 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

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At the close, Mines Management ( MGN) was down $0.04 (6.7%) to $0.56 on light volume. Throughout the day, 27,600 shares of Mines Management exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 41,200 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.55-$0.62 after having opened the day at $0.60 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.60.

Mines Management, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, acquires, explores, and develops various mineral properties in North and South America. The company explores for silver, and associated base and precious metals. Mines Management has a market cap of $16.4 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 8.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Mines Management as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on MGN go as follows:

  • 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, MINES MANAGEMENT INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, MGN has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. This company's share value has not moved any higher or lower since its value 12 months ago, and we feel the risks associated with investing in this company will outweigh any potential future gains.
  • MINES MANAGEMENT INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MINES MANAGEMENT INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.25 versus -$0.28 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Metals & Mining industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 0.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$1.84 million to -$1.82 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$1.42 million or 17.52% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MINES MANAGEMENT INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -55.48%.

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

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Timberline Resources ( TLR) was another company that pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today. Timberline Resources was down $0.03 (4.8%) to $0.59 on light volume. Throughout the day, 8,403 shares of Timberline Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 27,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.58-$0.62 after having opened the day at $0.58 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.62.

Timberline Resources has a market cap of $4.1 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 70.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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