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Tickers in this Article: SWC, SHI, RGLD, GRA, AUQ, CLF, CF
The market is currently up, with the Nasdaq moving up 0.3%, the S&P 500 rising 0.6% and the Dow climbing 0.3%. 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 Basic Materials sector (XLB) is up 1.1%, outperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector so far are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Stillwater Mining (NYSE:SWC).4 billion-7.2%
Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co (NYSE:SHI).99 billion+5.2%
Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD).61 billion-4.5%
W.R (NYSE:GRA).41 billion+4.1%
AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ).18 billion-3.2%
Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF).78 billion+3%
CF Industries (NYSE:CF).4 billion+2.7%
Forex Broker Summary: Forex Capital Markets (FXCM)

Stillwater Mining (NYSE:SWC) is down 7.2% to reach $11.24 per share. The company's volume is currently 4.4 million shares for the day, 2.7 times the average volume over the last three months. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest.

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co (NYSE:SHI) is currently trading at $29.10 per share, a 5.2% increase. The company is currently trading a volume of 2,715 shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is.

Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) has fallen 4.5% and is currently trading at $90.99 per share. This morning, 1.9 million shares have been traded, which is more trading activity than there was yesterday. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it.

W.R (NYSE:GRA) is up 4.1% to reach a current price of $61.25 per share. This morning, the company's volume is 546,580 shares. This is 1.4 times its current daily average. If a stock price moves on high volume, this means that the change is a significant one.

After a decline of 3.2%, AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ) has hit a share price of $7.49. The company's volume for the day so far is 2.2 million shares, in keeping with its current three-month average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) has risen 3% and is currently trading at $41.73 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 3.1 million shares. Price change alone is not enough to know how a stock is doing. Volume is an important secondary indicator used to confirm trends suggested by price movement.

CF Industries (NYSE:CF) has risen 2.7% to hit a current price of $219.36 per share. The company's volume is currently 437,185 shares for the day, with trading activity in keeping with yesterday's which is likely to result in less activity than yesterday's volume of 1.1 million shares. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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