3 Stocks Pushing The Chemicals Industry Lower

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The Chemicals industry as a whole closed the day down 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.3%. Laggards within the Chemicals industry included Ceres ( CERE), down 5.3%, Lightbridge ( LTBR), down 4.2%, NL Industries ( NL), down 3.2%, Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX), down 3.0% and Oil-Dri Corp of America ( ODC), down 3.4%.

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

Synthesis Energy Sys ( SYMX) is one of the companies that pushed the Chemicals industry lower today. Synthesis Energy Sys was down $0.03 (3.0%) to $0.98 on average volume. Throughout the day, 382,396 shares of Synthesis Energy Sys exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 277,900 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.93-$1.02 after having opened the day at $1.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $1.01.

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc., a development stage energy and gasification technology company, provides various proprietary gasification technology systems and solutions to the energy and chemical industries worldwide. Synthesis Energy Sys has a market cap of $73.3 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 68.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Synthesis Energy Sys as a sell. The area that we feel has been the company's primary weakness has been its disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on SYMX go as follows:

  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Energy Equipment & Services industry and the overall market, SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to -$2.35 million or 10.48% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 16.75%.
  • SYMX's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.04 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, SYMX has a quick ratio of 1.93, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • This stock has increased by 69.11% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in SYMX do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.
  • SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INC has improved earnings per share by 33.3% 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 two years. During the past fiscal year, SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.21 versus -$0.34 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Synthesis Energy Sys Ratings Report

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At the close, NL Industries ( NL) was down $0.26 (3.2%) to $7.83 on light volume. Throughout the day, 7,903 shares of NL Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14,100 shares. The stock ranged in price between $7.75-$8.02 after having opened the day at $8.02 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.09.

NL Industries, Inc., through its subsidiary, CompX International Inc., operates in the component products industry in the United States and internationally. NL Industries has a market cap of $389.9 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 27.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate NL Industries a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates NL Industries as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on NL go as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for NL INDUSTRIES is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.22%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 52.46% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • NL'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 30.22%, 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 return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market, NL INDUSTRIES's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NL INDUSTRIES reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NL INDUSTRIES swung to a loss, reporting -$1.13 versus $1.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.45 versus -$1.13).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Services & Supplies industry. The net income increased by 333.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$5.94 million to $13.89 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: NL Industries Ratings Report

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Ceres ( CERE) was another company that pushed the Chemicals industry lower today. Ceres was down $0.02 (5.3%) to $0.27 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 351,565 shares of Ceres exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 167,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.22-$0.31 after having opened the day at $0.29 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.28.

Ceres, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, develops and sells energy crops to produce renewable bioenergy feedstocks in North America. Ceres has a market cap of $13.7 million and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 79.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Ceres a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ceres 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.

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Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CERE 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CERES INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • CERE'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 84.95%, 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 revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 6.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 40.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • CERES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CERES INC reported poor results of -$1.31 versus -$1.22 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.61 versus -$1.31).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 17.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$9.32 million to -$7.73 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Ceres 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.

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