3 Stocks Pushing The Basic Materials Sector Higher

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 114 points (0.6%) at 17,956 as of Thursday, May 7, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,846 issues advancing vs. 1,171 declining with 124 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 1.2% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.6%. Top gainers within the sector include Energy Transfer Equity ( ETE), up 3.5%, Cheniere Energy ( LNG), up 2.0%, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 1.5%, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras ( PBR.A), up 1.1% and Williams Companies ( WMB), up 1.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include National Oilwell Varco ( NOV), down 3.8%, POSCO ( PKX), down 2.7%, Ecopetrol ( EC), down 2.5%, Statoil ASA ( STO), down 2.5% and Vale ( VALE), down 2.4%.

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

3. PPG Industries ( PPG) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, PPG Industries is up $3.41 (1.5%) to $224.74 on average volume. Thus far, 415,481 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 700,900 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $220.68-$224.87 after having opened the day at $221.50 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $221.33.

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PPG Industries, Inc. manufactures and distributes coatings, specialty materials, and glass products. PPG Industries has a market cap of $30.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 4.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts who 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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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2. As of noon trading, Praxair ( PX) is up $1.13 (0.9%) to $120.98 on light volume. Thus far, 453,999 shares of Praxair exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $119.14-$121.03 after having opened the day at $119.43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $119.85.

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Praxair, Inc. produces, sells, and distributes atmospheric, process, and specialty gases, as well as surface coatings in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. Praxair has a market cap of $34.9 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 6.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 8 analysts who rate Praxair a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 7 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Praxair as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated. Get the full Praxair Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Kinder Morgan ( KMI) is up $0.23 (0.5%) to $42.90 on average volume. Thus far, 3.6 million shares of Kinder Morgan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 9.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $42.30-$42.95 after having opened the day at $42.52 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $42.67.

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Kinder Morgan, Inc. operates as an energy infrastructure and energy company in North America. The company operates through Natural Gas Pipelines, CO2, Terminals, Products Pipelines, Kinder Morgan Canada, and Other segments. Kinder Morgan has a market cap of $92.5 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 0.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 12 analysts who rate Kinder Morgan a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Kinder Morgan as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. Get the full Kinder Morgan 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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