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Tickers in this Article: DD, MLI, LYB, ASH, CF, GOLD, PPG
The Nasdaq is trading down 0.8%, the S&P 500 is down 1.5% and the Dow has slipped 1.8%, marking a bad morning for the market. 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 down 3.5%, underperforming the market overall. The current biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
DuPont (NYSE:DD)$46.3 billion-8.7%
Mueller Industries (NYSE:MLI)$1.94 billion-6.7%
LyondellBasell (NYSE:LYB)$31.89 billion-4.6%
Ashland (NYSE:ASH)$5.51 billion-4%
CF Industries (NYSE:CF)$13.16 billion-3.9%
Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD)$11.27 billion-3.6%
PPG (NYSE:PPG)$17.97 billion-3%
Broker Summary: TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

Falling 8.7%, DuPont (NYSE:DD) is currently at a share price of $45.45. The company's volume for the day so far is 16.6 million shares, 3.6 times its average over the past three months.

Mueller Industries (NYSE:MLI) has fallen 6.7% and is currently trading at $47.42 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 208,608 shares.

Slipping 4.6%, LyondellBasell (NYSE:LYB) is currently trading at $52.90 per share. The company's volume is currently 2.6 million shares for the day, 0.7 times the average daily volume.

Ashland (NYSE:ASH) has decreased to $67.36 per share, a 4% fall. The company is trading at a volume of 795,256 shares. Yesterday's volume was only 310,171 shares.

At $201.55, CF Industries (NYSE:CF) has slipped 3.9%. At 782,493 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.8 times the current three-month average.

Currently trading at $118.22 per share, Randgold Resources Ltd (Nasdaq:GOLD) has fallen 3.6%. So far today, the company's volume is 253,930 shares.

PPG (NYSE:PPG) is trading at $114.16 per share, down 3%. At 371,117 shares, the company's volume so far today is in line with the current daily average.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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