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Tickers in this Article: ASH, GRA, VAL, KWR, PKX, RS, PH
The Nasdaq is trading up 2.3%, the S&P 500 is up 1.8% and the Dow has increased 1.9% on a good day for the market so far. 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 2%, underperforming the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Ashland (NYSE:ASH).34 billion+5.1%
W.R (NYSE:GRA).06 billion+5%
Valspar (NYSE:VAL).61 billion+4.8%
Quaker (NYSE:KWR)4.6 million+4.2%
POSCO (NYSE:PKX).38 billion+3.8%
Reliance Steel (NYSE:RS).69 billion+3.7%
Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH).69 billion+3%
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Ashland (NYSE:ASH) is at $84.48 per share after an increase of 5.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 574,342 shares.

W.R (NYSE:GRA) has risen 5% to hit a current price of $70.48 per share. At 505,956 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.8 times the average volume over the last three months.

Valspar (NYSE:VAL) is currently trading at $65.41 per share, a 4.8% increase. The company is trading at a volume of 396,048 shares.

Quaker (NYSE:KWR) has moved up 4.2% and is currently trading at $56.18 per share. The company's volume is currently 17,322 shares for the day, 0.2 times the average daily volume.

POSCO (NYSE:PKX) has risen 3.8% and is currently trading at $85.20 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 189,570 shares.

Increasing 3.7%, Reliance Steel (NYSE:RS) is trading at $64.34 per share. The company's volume is currently 206,983 shares for the day, in keeping with its current three-month average.

Rising 3%, Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) is currently trading at $87.62 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 715,327 shares.

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. 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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