3 Basic Materials Stocks Moving The Sector Upward

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 208 points (1.2%) at 18,143 as of Thursday, June 18, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,301 issues advancing vs. 707 declining with 146 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits up 0.3% versus the S&P 500, which is up 1.1%. Top gainers within the sector include Southern Copper ( SCCO), up 2.6%, Vale ( VALE), up 2.5%, China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP), up 2.3%, Phillips 66 ( PSX), up 1.9% and Kinder Morgan ( KMI), up 1.7%. A company within the sector that fell today was Suncor Energy ( SU), up 0.8%.

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

3. LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, LyondellBasell Industries is up $1.41 (1.4%) to $105.05 on average volume. Thus far, 1.7 million shares of LyondellBasell Industries exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.4 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $103.76-$105.38 after having opened the day at $104.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $103.64.

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LyondellBasell Industries N.V. operates as a manufacturer of chemicals and polymers, refiner of crude oil, producer of gasoline blending components, and developer and licensor of technologies for production of polymers. LyondellBasell Industries has a market cap of $49.5 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 31.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate LyondellBasell Industries a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 6 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates LyondellBasell Industries as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full LyondellBasell Industries Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Valero Energy ( VLO) is up $0.76 (1.3%) to $60.37 on average volume. Thus far, 2.6 million shares of Valero Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.1 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $59.62-$60.41 after having opened the day at $59.70 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $59.61.

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Valero Energy Corporation operates as an independent petroleum refining and marketing company in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. It operates through two segments, Refining and Ethanol. Valero Energy has a market cap of $30.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 19.0% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 11 analysts who rate Valero Energy a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Valero Energy as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Get the full Valero Energy Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Chevron ( CVX) is up $0.84 (0.8%) to $100.60 on average volume. Thus far, 3.5 million shares of Chevron exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.5 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $100.15-$100.90 after having opened the day at $100.26 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $99.76.

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Chevron Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the petroleum, chemicals, and power and energy operations worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. Chevron has a market cap of $188.1 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 10.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 6 analysts who rate Chevron a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Chevron as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Chevron 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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