NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the third quarter of 2015, the S&P 500 Materials index took a nosedive of, even when compared to a decline in the general market.

In the third quarter, the S&P 500 Materials index plummeted nearly 18%, while the market as a whole was down about 7% in the worst quarter for the markets in four years.

In the first half of the year, S&P Materials index declined by 6%, while the S&P 500 was up slightly at 1.2%.

That said, here are the worst of the worst. TheStreet paired the 10 worst performing materials sector stocks with TheStreet Ratings to determine whether they really are poor investments going forward.

Here are the 10 stocks in the materials sector which had the worst third-quarter.

TheStreet
paired each of these tickers with TheStreet Ratings to let you know if you should buy, sell, or hold these best performing stocks. (Note: Because of TheStreet Ratings parameters, not all stocks on this list have a rating).

TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool, 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 stocks were among the worst performers to date, counting down from 10 to one.

MON Chart MON data by YCharts
10. Monsanto Company (MON)

Rating: Buy, B-
Market Cap: $40 billion
Year-to-date return: -19.94%

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

TheStreet Ratings team rates MONSANTO CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

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 revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.2%. 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.
  • MONSANTO CO has improved earnings per share by 47.5% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. 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 ($5.75 versus $5.13).
  • 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 33.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $858.00 million to $1,141.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MONSANTO CO is rather high; currently it is at 63.59%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 24.91% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MON


IP Chart IP data by YCharts
9. International Paper Company (IP - Get Report)
Rating: Buy, B-
Market Cap: $15.8 billion
Year-to-date return: -20.59%

International Paper Company operates as a paper and packaging company in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The company operates through three segments: Industrial Packaging, Printing Papers, and Consumer Packaging.

TheStreet Ratings team rates INTL PAPER CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate INTL PAPER CO (IP) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable 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 compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Paper & Forest Products industry average. The net income increased by 41.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $161.00 million to $227.00 million.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Paper & Forest Products industry and the overall market, INTL PAPER CO's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • INTL PAPER CO has improved earnings per share by 35.0% 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, INTL PAPER CO reported lower earnings of $1.33 versus $3.81 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.81 versus $1.33).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.1%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • IP has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 19.89% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: IP


DD Chart DD data by YCharts
8. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DD - Get Report)
Rating: Buy, B-
Market Cap: $43.6 billion
Year-to-date return: -20.66%

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company operates as a science and technology based company worldwide. The company's Agriculture segment offers corn hybrid, soybean, canola, sunflower, sorghum, inoculants, seed products, wheat, rice, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.

TheStreet Ratings team rates DU PONT (E I) DE NEMOURS as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate DU PONT (E I) DE NEMOURS (DD) a BUY. This is driven by multiple 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.94, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, DD has a quick ratio of 1.56, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 41.07% is the gross profit margin for DU PONT (E I) DE NEMOURS which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 10.89% trails the industry average.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, DU PONT (E I) DE NEMOURS has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • DD, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 11.4%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: DD


EMN Chart EMN data by YCharts
7. Eastman Chemical Company (EMN - Get Report)
Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $9.6 billion
Year-to-date return: -20.90%

Eastman Chemical Company, a specialty chemical company, manufactures and sells materials, chemicals, and fibers in the United States and internationally.

TheStreet Ratings team rates EASTMAN CHEMICAL CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate EASTMAN CHEMICAL CO (EMN) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, increase in net income and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $591.00 million or 41.05% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -3.74%.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Chemicals industry average. The net income increased by 1.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $292.00 million to $297.00 million.
  • EASTMAN CHEMICAL CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, EASTMAN CHEMICAL CO reported lower earnings of $4.94 versus $7.45 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.35 versus $4.94).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: EMN


PPG Chart PPG data by YCharts
6. PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG - Get Report)
Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $23.8 billion
Year-to-date return: -23.56%

PPG Industries, Inc. manufactures and distributes coatings, specialty materials, and glass products.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PPG INDUSTRIES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate PPG INDUSTRIES INC (PPG) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, 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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. 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 revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 158.40% to $615.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PPG INDUSTRIES INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -3.74%.
  • 44.32% is the gross profit margin for PPG INDUSTRIES INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 8.21% trails the industry average.
  • PPG INDUSTRIES INC's earnings per share declined by 12.1% 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, PPG INDUSTRIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.05 versus $3.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.70 versus $4.05).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.87, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.93 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PPG


CF Chart CF data by YCharts
5. CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF - Get Report)
Rating: Hold, C+
Market Cap: $10.5 billion
Year-to-date return: -30.15%

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.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC (CF) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity.

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

  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Chemicals industry average. The net income increased by 12.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $312.60 million to $351.90 million.
  • The gross profit margin for CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.22%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 26.83% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.9%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • CF has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.78% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • 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 Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CF INDUSTRIES HOLDINGS INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CF


NEM Chart NEM data by YCharts
4. Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM - Get Report)
Rating: Hold, C-
Market Cap: $8.5 billion
Year-to-date return: -31.21%

Newmont Mining Corporation operates in the mining industry. It primarily acquires, develops, explores for, and produces gold, copper, and silver deposits. The company's operations and/or assets are located in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, and New Zealand.

TheStreet Ratings team rates NEWMONT MINING CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate NEWMONT MINING CORP (NEM) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 45.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Despite the fact that NEM's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.69 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
  • NEWMONT MINING 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. 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, NEWMONT MINING CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $1.10 versus -$5.21 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.3% in earnings ($1.08 versus $1.10).
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 29.62%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 64.86% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NEM


MOS Chart MOS data by YCharts
3. Mosaic Company (MOS - Get Report)
Rating: Hold, C-
Market Cap: $11 billion
Year-to-date return: -33.6%

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.

TheStreet Ratings team rates MOSAIC CO as a Hold with a ratings score of C-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MOSAIC CO (MOS) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. 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 and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.9%. 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 1.62, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • MOS's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 29.43%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $583.10 million or 26.77% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MOS


FMC Chart FMC data by YCharts
2. FMC Corporation (FMC - Get Report)
Rating: Hold, C
Market Cap: $4.5 billion
Year-to-date return: -35.47%

FMC Corporation, a diversified chemical company, provides solutions, applications, and products for the agricultural, consumer, and industrial markets in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.

TheStreet Ratings team rates FMC CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate FMC CORP (FMC) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • 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 580.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $109.10 million to $742.30 million.
  • 40.19% is the gross profit margin for FMC CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of FMC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FMC's net profit margin of 83.67% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, FMC CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $124.60 million or 41.19% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FMC


FCX Chart FCX data by YCharts
1. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX - Get Report)

Rating: Sell, D+
Market Cap: $11 billion
Year-to-date return: -47.61%

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., a natural resource company, engages in the acquisition of mineral assets, and oil and natural gas resources. It primarily explores for copper, gold, molybdenum, cobalt, silver, and other metals, as well as oil and gas.

TheStreet Ratings team rates FREEPORT-MCMORAN INC as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate FREEPORT-MCMORAN INC (FCX) a SELL. This is driven by multiple weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes 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 Metals & Mining industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 484.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $482.00 million to -$1,851.00 million.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.51 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. To add to this, FCX has a quick ratio of 0.58, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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 Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, FREEPORT-MCMORAN INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $1,069.00 million or 22.87% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 69.96%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 486.95% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FCX