The market is having a bad day so far. The Nasdaq has decreased 0.4%; the S&P 500 is trading down 0.2%; and the Dow is down 0.2%. 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 ahead of the overall market, down only 0.1%, and its biggest movers are currently:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
Polypore International (NYSE:PPO) $1.92 billion -2.7%
Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) $28.5 billion -2.3%
Buckeye Technologies (NYSE:BKI) $1.05 billion -2.2%
Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) $5.37 billion -1.9%
Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) $12.14 billion -1.7%
Ternium S.A (NYSE:TX) $4.37 billion +1.5%
Quaker (NYSE:KWR) $644.4 million -1.5%

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At $41.08, Polypore International (NYSE:PPO) has slipped 2.7%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 123,605 shares.

Falling 2.3%, Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) is currently at a share price of $42.28. This morning, 90,666 shares have been traded,.

Buckeye Technologies (NYSE:BKI) has fallen 2.2% and is currently trading at $27.39 per share. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 75,176 shares. This is 0.2 times its average volume over the past three months.

Slipping 1.9%, Royal Gold (Nasdaq:RGLD) is currently trading at $82.40 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 198,533 shares, 0.3 times the average daily volume.

Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) is down 1.7% to reach $81.99 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 824,501 shares.

Ternium S.A (NYSE:TX) has risen 1.5% to hit a current price of $22.40 per share. The company's volume is currently 190,715 shares for the day, while it was 479,932 shares yesterday.

Quaker (NYSE:KWR) is trading at $48.27 per share, down 1.5%. The company's volume for the day so far is 6,951 shares. This is 0.2 times the average volume over the last three months.

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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