Today's Stocks Driving Success For The Basic Materials Sector

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 125 points (0.7%) at 17,965 as of Friday, May 1, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,606 issues advancing vs. 1,375 declining with 147 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.6%. Top gainers within the sector include Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 3.7%, Vale ( VALE), up 3.1%, Valero Energy ( VLO), up 2.9%, Monsanto ( MON), up 2.6% and Tenaris ( TS), up 2.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Ecopetrol ( EC), down 2.9%, Continental Resources ( CLR), down 2.5%, Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ), down 2.2%, Statoil ASA ( STO), down 2.0% and ConocoPhillips ( COP), down 1.3%.

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

3. Tesoro ( TSO) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Tesoro is up $3.23 (3.8%) to $89.06 on light volume. Thus far, 785,006 shares of Tesoro exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $85.68-$89.11 after having opened the day at $85.91 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $85.83.

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Tesoro Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in petroleum refining and marketing activities in the United States. It operates in three segments: Refining, Tesoro Logistics LP (TLLP), and Retail. Tesoro has a market cap of $10.9 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 16.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Tesoro a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Tesoro as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Tesoro Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Alcoa ( AA) is up $0.65 (4.8%) to $14.07 on heavy volume. Thus far, 29.2 million shares of Alcoa exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 25.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $13.48-$14.14 after having opened the day at $13.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.42.

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Alcoa Inc. produces and manages primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Global Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. Alcoa has a market cap of $16.6 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 13.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 8 analysts who rate Alcoa a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 5 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Alcoa as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Alcoa Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is up $0.62 (1.2%) to $51.62 on light volume. Thus far, 2.3 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $51.17-$51.82 after having opened the day at $51.24 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $51.00.

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The Dow Chemical Company manufactures and supplies products that are used primarily as raw materials in the manufacture of customer products and services worldwide. Dow Chemical has a market cap of $59.5 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 13.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate Dow Chemical a buy, 2 analysts rate it a sell, and 9 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Dow Chemical as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Dow Chemical 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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