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.

All three major indices are trading up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 53 points (0.3%) at 17,715 as of Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,670 issues advancing vs. 1,290 declining with 158 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.1% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Braskem ( BAK), down 19.4%, Sunoco Logistics Partners ( SXL), down 7.1%, Spectra Energy Partners ( SEP), down 2.9%, BP ( BP), down 1.9% and Spectra Energy ( SE), down 1.7%. Top gainers within the sector include Continental Resources ( CLR), up 3.2%, Cabot Oil & Gas ( COG), up 3.0%, Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), up 2.1%, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A), up 2.1% and Devon Energy ( DVN), up 1.4%.

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

3. Total ( TOT) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector lower today. As of noon trading, Total is down $0.36 (-0.7%) to $48.13 on heavy volume. Thus far, 1.6 million shares of Total exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 2.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $47.65-$48.38 after having opened the day at $48.23 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $48.49.

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TOTAL S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an oil and gas company worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Upstream, Refining & Chemicals, and Marketing & Services. Total has a market cap of $114.8 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 5.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 8 analysts that rate Total a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Total as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins. Get the full Total Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan ( POT) is down $0.39 (-1.2%) to $32.54 on average volume. Thus far, 2.4 million shares of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $32.50-$33.06 after having opened the day at $32.99 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $32.93.

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Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Potash, Nitrogen, and Phosphate. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $28.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 6.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 7 analysts that rate Potash Corp of Saskatchewan a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corp of Saskatchewan as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, PPG Industries ( PPG) is down $2.12 (-0.9%) to $225.55 on average volume. Thus far, 373,360 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 732,200 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $225.01-$228.15 after having opened the day at $227.82 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $227.67.

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PPG Industries, Inc. manufactures and distributes coatings, specialty materials, and glass products. PPG Industries has a market cap of $31.7 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 1.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are 12 analysts that rate PPG Industries a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates PPG Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income. Get the full PPG Industries Ratings Report now.

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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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