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 are trading down today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 323.28 points (-1.8%) at 17,510 as of Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, 3:25 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 657 issues advancing vs. 2,433 declining with 104 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector as a whole closed the day down 3.4% versus the S&P 500, which was down 1.9%. Top gainers within the Basic Materials sector included Lilis Energy ( LLEX), up 17.4%, Mines Management ( MGN), up 3.8%, Timberline Resources ( TLR), up 13.1%, Tengasco ( TGC), up 4.1% and Houston American Energy ( HUSA), up 6.2%.

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 $0.01 (6.2%) to $0.17 on light volume. Throughout the day, 24,265 shares of Houston American Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 152,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.16-$0.18 after having opened the day at $0.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.16.

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 $8.4 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Houston American Energy a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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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 decreased to -$0.36 million or 29.60% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • 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 32.00%, which is also worse than the performance of the S&P 500 Index. 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 rather high; currently it is at 56.14%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, HUSA's net profit margin of -898.24% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • HUSA, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 6.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 66.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.

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, Timberline Resources ( TLR) was up $0.08 (13.1%) to $0.69 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 51,193 shares of Timberline Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 34,100 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.61-$0.72 after having opened the day at $0.61 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.61.

Timberline Resources has a market cap of $5.8 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Mines Management ( MGN) was another company that pushed the Basic Materials sector higher today. Mines Management was up $0.02 (3.8%) to $0.49 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,714 shares of Mines Management exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 42,800 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.47-$0.49 after having opened the day at $0.49 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.47.

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 $14.0 million and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Mines Management a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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, weak operating cash flow 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to -$1.52 million or 3.12% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow MINES MANAGEMENT INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -31.21%.
  • MGN has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 10.53% 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 revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 44.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • MINES MANAGEMENT INC has improved earnings per share by 16.7% 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. During the past fiscal year, MINES MANAGEMENT INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.25 versus -$0.28 in the prior year.

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

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.