3 Stocks Improving Performance Of 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 176 points (1.0%) at 18,236 as of Thursday, May 14, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,373 issues advancing vs. 649 declining with 125 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.4% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.8%. Top gainers within the sector include Tesoro ( TSO), up 3.3%, Valero Energy ( VLO), up 2.4%, Goldcorp ( GG), up 2.0%, Praxair ( PX), up 1.8% and E I du Pont de Nemours & Company ( DD), up 1.5%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Seadrill ( SDRL), down 5.0%, Transocean ( RIG), down 3.7%, Concho Resources ( CXO), down 2.3%, Noble Energy ( NBL), down 1.7% and Continental Resources ( CLR), down 1.5%.

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

3. ArcelorMittal ( MT) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, ArcelorMittal is up $0.61 (5.6%) to $11.56 on heavy volume. Thus far, 11.2 million shares of ArcelorMittal exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.50-$11.89 after having opened the day at $11.79 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $10.95.

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ArcelorMittal, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated steel and mining company worldwide. The company operates through five segments: NAFTA; Europe; Brazil and Neighboring Countries (Brazil); Africa & Commonwealth of Independent States (ACIS); and Mining. ArcelorMittal has a market cap of $18.4 billion and is part of the metals & mining industry. Shares are down 0.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 3 analysts who rate ArcelorMittal a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 3 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates ArcelorMittal as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. Get the full ArcelorMittal Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Air Products & Chemicals ( APD) is up $1.89 (1.3%) to $146.84 on average volume. Thus far, 496,833 shares of Air Products & Chemicals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 986,800 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $144.83-$146.94 after having opened the day at $146.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $144.95.

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Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment, and services worldwide. The company operates in Merchant Gases, Tonnage Gases, Electronics and Performance Materials, and Equipment and Energy segments. Air Products & Chemicals has a market cap of $31.0 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 0.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate Air Products & Chemicals a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Air Products & Chemicals as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Get the full Air Products & Chemicals Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Dow Chemical ( DOW) is up $0.38 (0.8%) to $51.11 on light volume. Thus far, 2.0 million shares of Dow Chemical exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7.9 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $50.94-$51.38 after having opened the day at $51.11 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $50.73.

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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 $58.7 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 11.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 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, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity. 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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