NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With Monsanto's (MON) bid for Swiss chemical company Syngenta AG (SYT), we decided to take a look at the fertilizer and chemicals industry.

The industry is going through a reshuffling of assets put in motion by Monsanto's unsolicited bid for Swiss chemicals company Syngenta. The original offer was rejected flatly and a revised bid that included a breakup fee of $2 billion also has been rejected. As part of the deal Monsanto has offered to sell Syngenta's seed business to make the merger acceptable to antitrust regulators. Competitors DuPont Co.  (DD), Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) and BASF (BAS) are standing by to scoop up the Syngenta seed business if the merger goes through. In the meantime, farmers are concerned about the deal and are set to oppose it.

So, what are the best fertilizer and chemical companies that are also highly volatile that investors should be buying? Here are the top three, according to TheStreet Ratings,TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which fertilizer and agricultural chemical companies made the list. And when you're done, be sure to read about which biotech companies to buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on June 9, 2015, closing prices. The highest-rated stock appears last.

CF ChartCF data by YCharts
3. CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF)

Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $14.9 billion
Year-to-date return: 15.8%

CF Industries Holdings, Inc. manufactures and distributes nitrogen fertilizers and other nitrogen products worldwide. The company's principal nitrogen fertilizer products include ammonia, granular urea, and urea ammonium nitrate solution.

"We rate CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC (CF) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, CF's share price has jumped by 30.02%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, CF should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The gross profit margin for CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.70%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 24.18% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.13, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Chemicals industry. Despite the fact that CF's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.53 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
  • CF, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 15.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC increased its bottom line by earning $26.44 versus $24.63 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 16.5% in earnings ($22.08 versus $26.44).

MOS ChartMOS data by YCharts
2. The Mosaic Company (MOS)

Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $16 billion
Year-to-date return: -3.7%

The Mosaic Company produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agricultural industry worldwide. It operates through two segments, Phosphates and Potash. The Phosphates segment owns and operates mines in Florida.

"We rate MOSAIC CO (MOS) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.38, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MOS has a quick ratio of 2.06, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • MOSAIC CO has improved earnings per share by 48.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MOSAIC CO increased its bottom line by earning $2.69 versus $2.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.36 versus $2.69).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Chemicals industry. The net income increased by 35.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $217.50 million to $294.80 million.

MON ChartMON data by YCharts
1. Monsanto Company (MON)

Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $54.1 billion
Year-to-date return: -5%

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity.

"We rate MONSANTO CO (MON) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for MONSANTO CO is rather high; currently it is at 61.94%. Regardless of MON's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MON's net profit margin of 27.41% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $169.00 million or 14.18% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, MONSANTO CO's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 16.29%.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. In comparison to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MONSANTO CO has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • MONSANTO CO's earnings per share declined by 7.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MONSANTO CO increased its bottom line by earning $5.13 versus $4.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.76 versus $5.13).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 14.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
Must Read:  3 Wireless Telecommunication Services Stocks to Buy

More from Opinion

AAP Exclusive: Cramer Says The President is No Longer on the Side of the Bulls

AAP Exclusive: Cramer Says The President is No Longer on the Side of the Bulls

Why It Makes Perfect Sense for Netflix and Amazon to Buy Up Movie Theaters

Why It Makes Perfect Sense for Netflix and Amazon to Buy Up Movie Theaters

2 More Reasons to Sell All Your Stocks and Run Away

2 More Reasons to Sell All Your Stocks and Run Away

Sean Hannity's Link to Trump Lawyer Raises Questions: Doug Kass Insider

Sean Hannity's Link to Trump Lawyer Raises Questions: Doug Kass Insider

Netflix Blowout Earnings Remind Investors of One Thing: This Company Is a Beast

Netflix Blowout Earnings Remind Investors of One Thing: This Company Is a Beast