The Basic Materials sector as a whole closed the day down 1.9% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.9%. Laggards within the Basic Materials sector included Timberline Resources ( TLR), down 4.5%, Tengasco ( TGC), down 2.3%, Houston American Energy ( HUSA), down 5.0%, Pacific Booker Minerals ( PBM), down 1.5% and Escalera Resources ( ESCR), down 4.7%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the sector lower today:

Ecopetrol ( EC) is one of the companies that pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today. Ecopetrol was down $0.41 (4.1%) to $9.60 on light volume. Throughout the day, 552,630 shares of Ecopetrol exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 855,800 shares. The stock ranged in price between $9.55-$10.01 after having opened the day at $10.00 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $10.01.

Ecopetrol S.A., an integrated oil company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas primarily in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Angola, and the United States Gulf Coast. Ecopetrol has a market cap of $20.7 billion and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 41.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Ecopetrol a buy, 3 analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Ecopetrol as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on EC go as follows:

  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 69.64%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 61.84% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.
  • ECOPETROL SA 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ECOPETROL SA reported lower earnings of $1.55 versus $3.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 51.6% in earnings ($0.75 versus $1.55).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 62.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $1,559.52 million to $586.46 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, ECOPETROL SA's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $142.19 million or 91.89% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Ecopetrol Ratings Report

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At the close, Houston American Energy ( HUSA) was down $0.01 (5.0%) to $0.19 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 78,328 shares of Houston American Energy exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 48,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.17-$0.19 after having opened the day at $0.18 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.20.

Houston American Energy Corp., an independent energy company, acquires, explores for, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and condensate from properties located principally in the Gulf Coast area of the United States and South America. Houston American Energy has a market cap of $10.4 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are up 24.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Houston American Energy as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, feeble growth in its earnings per share and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on HUSA go as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 121.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.54 million to -$1.19 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP 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. Stable Earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. During the past fiscal year, HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP reported poor results of -$0.07 versus -$0.06 in the prior year.
  • The share price of HOUSTON AMERN ENERGY CORP has not done very well: it is down 13.05% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, HUSA has significantly outperformed against the industry average of 34.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.8%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Houston American Energy Ratings Report

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Timberline Resources ( TLR) was another company that pushed the Basic Materials sector lower today. Timberline Resources was down $0.02 (4.5%) to $0.40 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 26,450 shares of Timberline Resources exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13,400 shares. The stock ranged in price between $0.40-$0.42 after having opened the day at $0.40 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.42.

Timberline Resources has a market cap of $4.8 million and is part of the energy industry. Shares are down 28.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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