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 4 points (0.0%) at 17,970 as of Thursday, June 25, 2015, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,139 issues advancing vs. 1,826 declining with 188 unchanged.

The Basic Materials sector currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is up 0.1%. On the negative front, top decliners within the sector include Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX), down 2.7%, Concho Resources ( CXO), down 2.7%, Suncor Energy ( SU), down 2.1%, Williams Companies ( WMB), down 1.9% and Southern Copper ( SCCO), down 1.7%.

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

3. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan ( POT) is one of the companies pushing the Basic Materials sector higher today. As of noon trading, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan is up $0.56 (1.8%) to $31.00 on heavy volume. Thus far, 3.4 million shares of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3.6 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $30.46-$31.28 after having opened the day at $30.59 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $30.44.

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Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Potash, Nitrogen, and Phosphate. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan has a market cap of $25.6 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are down 13.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 7 analysts who rate Potash Corp of Saskatchewan a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 10 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Potash Corp of Saskatchewan as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. Get the full Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, Marathon Oil ( MRO) is up $0.31 (1.1%) to $26.92 on heavy volume. Thus far, 6.5 million shares of Marathon Oil exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 6.3 million shares. The stock has ranged in price between $26.82-$27.20 after having opened the day at $27.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $26.61.

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Marathon Oil Corporation operates as an energy company. It operates in three segments: North America Exploration and Production, International Exploration and Production, and Oil Sands Mining. Marathon Oil has a market cap of $18.0 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 5.9% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 13 analysts who rate Marathon Oil a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 4 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Marathon Oil as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity. Get the full Marathon Oil Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB) is up $1.32 (1.3%) to $106.14 on light volume. Thus far, 1.3 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 $104.89-$106.45 after having opened the day at $105.17 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $104.81.

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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 $49.4 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. Shares are up 31.6% 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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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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