Basic Materials Stocks On The Rise With Help From 3 Stocks

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 54 points (0.3%) at 18,054 as of Thursday, June 11, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,776 issues advancing vs. 1,216 declining with 167 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.7% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.2%. Top gainers within the sector include Hess ( HES), up 5.7%, Axiall ( AXLL), up 5.9%, Valero Energy ( VLO), up 2.6%, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), up 2.6% and Phillips 66 ( PSX), up 1.8%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), down 3.5%, ArcelorMittal ( MT), down 3.3%, Antero Resources ( AR), down 3.3%, Consol Energy ( CNX), down 3.3% and Tenaris ( TS), down 3.2%.

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

3. Air Products & Chemicals ( APD) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Air Products & Chemicals is up $0.84 (0.6%) to $146.78 on light volume. Thus far, 247,683 shares of Air Products & Chemicals exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 1.0 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $146.15-$147.49 after having opened the day at $146.15 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $145.94.

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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 1.2% 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 9 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 no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Get the full Air Products & Chemicals Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, PPG Industries ( PPG) is up $2.48 (1.1%) to $234.36 on average volume. Thus far, 352,735 shares of PPG Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 705,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $230.96-$234.41 after having opened the day at $232.81 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $231.88.

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PPG Industries, Inc. manufactures and distributes coatings, specialty materials, and glass products. PPG Industries has a market cap of $31.2 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 0.3% 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 its 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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1. As of noon trading, Monsanto ( MON) is up $0.59 (0.5%) to $115.08 on light volume. Thus far, 622,902 shares of Monsanto exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.2 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $114.21-$115.09 after having opened the day at $115.06 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $114.49.

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Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers worldwide. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto has a market cap of $54.1 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate Monsanto a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Monsanto as a buy. 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. Get the full Monsanto 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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Air Products & Chemicals Looks to Fill a Gap

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