3 Stocks Improving Performance Of The Chemicals Industry

Two out of the three major indices are trading lower today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading down 52 points (-0.3%) at 18,381 as of Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, 12:55 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 1,146 issues advancing vs. 1,771 declining with 163 unchanged.

The Chemicals industry currently sits down 0.6% versus the S&P 500, which is down 0.2%. On the negative front, top decliners within the industry include Williams Partners ( WPZ), down 3.4%, Celanese ( CE), down 2.0%, LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB), down 0.8% and Praxair ( PX), down 0.8%.

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

3. Braskem ( BAK) is one of the companies pushing the Chemicals industry higher today. As of noon trading, Braskem is up $0.17 (1.5%) to $11.67 on light volume. Thus far, 177,748 shares of Braskem exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 490,100 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $11.40-$11.84 after having opened the day at $11.43 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.50.

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Braskem S.A., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells thermoplastic resins. Braskem has a market cap of $4.5 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 15.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there is 1 analyst who rates Braskem a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Braskem as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins. Get the full Braskem Ratings Report now.

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2. As of noon trading, W R Grace ( GRA) is up $1.63 (2.2%) to $76.50 on heavy volume. Thus far, 577,368 shares of W R Grace exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 511,000 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $76.12-$78.26 after having opened the day at $77.68 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $74.87.

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W. R. Grace & Co. produces and sells specialty chemicals and materials worldwide. It operates through three segments: Grace Catalysts Technologies, Grace Materials Technologies, and Grace Construction Products. W R Grace has a market cap of $5.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are down 24.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 4 analysts who rate W R Grace a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 2 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates W R Grace as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations 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 generally higher debt management risk. Get the full W R Grace Ratings Report now.

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1. As of noon trading, Ashland ( ASH) is up $1.94 (1.7%) to $115.18 on average volume. Thus far, 233,908 shares of Ashland exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 418,700 shares. The stock has ranged in price between $112.75-$115.72 after having opened the day at $113.07 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $113.24.

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Ashland Inc. operates as a specialty chemicals company worldwide. It operates through three segments: Specialty Ingredients, Performance Materials, and Valvoline. Ashland has a market cap of $7.0 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. Shares are up 10.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 5 analysts who rate Ashland a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Ashland as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Get the full Ashland 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 chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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