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Tickers in this Article: CLF, RAVN, IPHS, GEF, GEF.B, VAL, PH
This morning, the market has been relatively quiet. The Nasdaq is unchanged; the S&P 500 has moved little; and the Dow has been relatively flat. 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) has risen 0.4% despite little change in the market overall. Currently, the biggest movers in the sector are:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF)$5.03 billion-9.5%
Raven Industries (Nasdaq:RAVN)$934 million-6.5%
Innophos Holdings (Nasdaq:IPHS)$986.5 million+4.7%
Greif (NYSE:GEF)$2.01 billion-4%
Greif (NYSE:GEF.B)$1.01 billion-2.6%
Valspar (NYSE:VAL)$5.25 billion+1.9%
Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH)$12.09 billion-1.8%
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Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) is down 9.5% to reach $31.94 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is nine million shares, 1.3 times the average volume over the last three months.

Currently trading at $24.05 per share, Raven Industries (Nasdaq:RAVN) has fallen 6.5%. So far today, the company's volume is 241,314 shares.

Increasing 4.7%, Innophos Holdings (Nasdaq:IPHS) is trading at $47.57 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 47,081 shares, in line with the current daily average.

Greif (NYSE:GEF) has decreased to $40.79 per share, a 4% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 94,923 shares. This is on pace to reach yesterday's trading volume of 215,071 shares.

After a decline of 2.6%, Greif (NYSE:GEF.B) has hit a share price of $44.26. The company's volume is currently 3,000 shares for the day, 0.3 times its current three-month average.

After an increase of 1.9%, Valspar (NYSE:VAL) has reached a current price of $58.90. The company is currently trading a volume of 364,213 shares.

Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) has fallen 1.8% and is currently trading at $79.60 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 645,786 shares, 0.4 times the average daily volume.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. 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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