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 traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 305 points (1.8%) at 17,666 as of Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,499 issues advancing vs. 614 declining with 98 unchanged.

The Materials & Construction industry as a whole closed the day up 2.0% versus the S&P 500, which was up 1.4%. Top gainers within the Materials & Construction industry included Avalon Holdings ( AWX), up 1.6%, James Hardie Industries ( JHX), up 4.3%, Sterling Construction ( STRL), up 3.1%, UCP ( UCP), up 7.4% and Aspen Aerogels ( ASPN), up 1.8%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

UCP ( UCP) is one of the companies that pushed the Materials & Construction industry higher today. UCP was up $0.66 (7.4%) to $9.59 on average volume. Throughout the day, 28,363 shares of UCP exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 33,600 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $9.01-$9.59 after having opened the day at $9.01 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.93.

UCP, Inc. operates as a homebuilder and land developer in California and Washington, the United States. The company operates in two segments, Homebuilding and Land Development. It designs, constructs, and sells single-family homes under the Benchmark Communities brand name. UCP has a market cap of $71.3 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 14.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are no analysts who rate UCP a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates UCP as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on UCP go as follows:

  • UCP INC's earnings have gone downhill when comparing its most recently reported quarter with the same quarter a year earlier. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 52.0% in earnings (-$0.38 versus -$0.25).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Household Durables industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 4340.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.02 million to -$0.67 million.
  • The gross profit margin for UCP INC is rather low; currently it is at 16.99%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -1.19% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$20.06 million or 83.32% 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.
  • Compared to other companies in the Household Durables industry and the overall market, UCP INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

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

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At the close, Sterling Construction ( STRL) was up $0.10 (3.1%) to $3.32 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 235,130 shares of Sterling Construction exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 92,000 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $3.20-$3.34 after having opened the day at $3.26 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $3.22.

Sterling Construction Company, Inc. operates as a heavy civil construction company in Texas, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and other states of the United States. Sterling Construction has a market cap of $65.2 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 49.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Sterling Construction a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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

TheStreet Ratings rates Sterling Construction as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on STRL go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Construction & Engineering industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1982.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.19 million to -$3.94 million.
  • 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 Construction & Engineering industry and the overall market, STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 6.85%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -2.07% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$6.64 million or 143.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 65.60%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 250.00% compared to the year-earlier 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.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Sterling Construction 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.

James Hardie Industries ( JHX) was another company that pushed the Materials & Construction industry higher today. James Hardie Industries was up $2.22 (4.3%) to $53.77 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 13,232 shares of James Hardie Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,700 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $52.75-$53.83 after having opened the day at $52.75 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.55.

James Hardie Industries has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 5.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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.