The Nasdaq has slipped 0.4%, the S&P 500 has risen 0.2% and the Dow is unchanged so far today. The basic materials sector is the category of stocks that accounts for companies involved with the discovery, development and processing of raw materials. This sector includes the mining and refining of metals, chemical producers and forestry products. The basic materials sector is sensitive to changes in the business cycle. Because the sector supplies materials for construction, it depends on a strong economy. This sector is also sensitive to supply and demand fluctuations because the price of raw materials, such as gold or other metals, is largely demand driven.

The biggest movers in the Basic Materials sector (XLB) (+0.7%) are:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
A. Schulman (Nasdaq:SHLM) $852.6 million +4.2%
Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) $24.16 billion +2.6%
Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD) $8.99 billion -2.3%
Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) $5.16 billion -2.1%
Polypore International (NYSE:PPO) $2.1 billion -2%
Worthington Industries (NYSE:WOR) $1.87 billion -1.9%
CF Industries (NYSE:CF) $12.97 billion +1.9%

Forex Broker Summary: UFXMarkets

A. Schulman (Nasdaq:SHLM) has risen 4.2% and is currently trading at $30.31 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 266,853 shares, 1.6 times the average daily volume.

Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) has increased to a share price of $58.25, a 2.6% rise. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 4.7 million shares. This is 1.6 times the current three-month average.

Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD) has decreased to $95.56 per share, a 2.3% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 308,195 shares.

Currently trading at $78.53 per share, Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) has fallen 2.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 287,585 shares, which is likely to result in less activity than yesterday's volume of 745,510 shares.

Polypore International (NYSE:PPO) has fallen 2% and is currently trading at $44.08 per share. The company's volume for the morning is 326,520 shares. This is 0.8 times the current daily average.

Worthington Industries (NYSE:WOR) is down 1.9% to reach $26.28 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 393,777 shares, consistent with its average over the last three months.

CF Industries (NYSE:CF) is at $210.03 per share after an increase of 1.9%. The company is currently trading a volume of 300,887 shares.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.