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Tickers in this Article: NL, ROC, LXU, APD, MOS, PPG, RXN
The Nasdaq has fallen 0.3%, the S&P 500 has slipped 0.5% and the Dow has declined 0.5%, 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 currently lagging behind the overall market, down 0.8%, and its current biggest movers are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
NL Industries (NYSE:NL)$539.7 million+3.7%
Rockwood Holdings (NYSE:ROC)$3.79 billion-2.2%
LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU)$769.1 million+1.7%
Air Prods & Chems (NYSE:APD)$17.7 billion-1.6%
Mosaic (NYSE:MOS)$23.9 billion-1.5%
PPG (NYSE:PPG)$20.41 billion-1.5%
Rexnord (NYSE:RXN)$2.02 billion+1.1%
Broker Summary: OptionsXpress Online Trading Platform

Increasing 3.7%, NL Industries (NYSE:NL) is trading at $11.50 per share. The company's volume for the morning is 12,185 shares. This is 0.3 times the current daily average.

Currently trading at $47.70 per share, Rockwood Holdings (NYSE:ROC) has fallen 2.2%. With 125,873 shares changing hands so far today, the company's volume is 0.2 times its current three-month average.

LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU) has moved up 1.7% and is currently trading at $34.92 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 28,102 shares.

After a decline of 1.6%, Air Prods & Chems (NYSE:APD) has hit a share price of $83.48. At 225,886 shares, the company's volume so far today is lighter than yesterday's volume of 1.2 million shares.

Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) is trading at $55.31 per share, down 1.5%. This morning, the company's volume is 576,602 shares. This is 0.3 times the average daily volume.

PPG (NYSE:PPG) has decreased to $131.16 per share, a 1.5% fall. The company's volume for the day so far is 742,352 shares, 0.4 times the average volume over the last three months.

After an increase of 1.1%, Rexnord (NYSE:RXN) has reached a current price of $21.13. So far today, 127,626 shares have changed hands.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. 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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