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Interested in gaining exposure to commodities-producing companies? Here are some ideas to get started on your stock search.

We ran a screen on the basic materials sector for stocks with strong sources of profitability, measured by DuPont analysis.

DuPont analyzes return on equity (ROE, or net income/equity) profitability by breaking ROE up into three components:

ROE
= (Net Profit/Equity)
= (Net profit/Sales)*(Sales/Assets)*(Assets/Equity)
= (Net Profit margin)*(Asset turnover)*(Leverage ratio)

It therefore focuses on companies with the following positive characteristics: Increasing ROE along with,

• Decreasing leverage, i.e. decreasing Asset/Equity ratio
• Improving asset use efficiency (i.e. increasing Sales/Assets ratio) and improving net profit margin (i.e. increasing Net Income/Sales ratio)

Companies with all of these characteristics are experiencing increasing profits due to operations and not to increased use of financial leverage.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.‬

We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

Do you think these companies have strong profitability? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by increase in ROE.

1. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE:PXD): Engages in the exploration and production of oil and gas in the United States, South Africa, and Tunisia. Market cap of $12.03B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 34.07% from 19.12% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.09 from 0.06, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.17 from 2.30. The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.52%.

2. Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD): Engages in the manufacture and sale of steel products in the United States. Market cap of $3.47B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 2.12% from 1.18% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.34 from 0.28, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.61 from 2.68. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.58% over the last week.

3. Targa Resources Partners LP (NYSE:NGLS): Oil & Gas Pipelines Industry. Market cap of $3.56B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 2.10% from 1.13% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.47 from 0.40, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.98 from 3.13. The stock has gained 28.25% over the last year.

4. CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX): Engages in the production of multi-fuel energy and provision of energy services primarily to the electric power generation industry in the United States. Market cap of $8.20B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 11.0% from 5.59% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.13 from 0.12, while Assets/Equity decreased to 3.55 from 3.77. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.14% over the last week.

5. Intrepid Potash, Inc. (NYSE:IPI): Engages in the production and marketing of muriate of potash or potassium chloride, and langbeinite under the Trio brand name primarily in the United States. Market cap of $1.88B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 22.38% from 12.75% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.12 from 0.11, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.08 from 1.10. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.12% (equivalent to 5.05 days of average volume). The stock has lost 32.38% over the last year.

6. Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD): Operates precious metals royalties. Market cap of $4.35B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 34.90% from 26.09% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.03 from 0.02, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.28 from 1.32. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 9.34% over the last week.

7. Stone Energy Corp. (NYSE:SGY): Engages in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation, development, and operation of oil and gas properties located in the Gulf of Mexico and Appalachia region. Market cap of $1.40B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 24.33% from 12.47% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.11 from 0.10, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.95 from 3.55. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.81). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.33% over the last week.

8. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX): Engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. Market cap of $212.27B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 12.15% from 7.58% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.32 from 0.28, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.69 from 1.73. Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 3.04%, current ratio at 1.64, and quick ratio at 1.45. The stock has gained 16.17% over the last year.

9. Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE:SCCO): Engages in mining, smelting, and refining mineral properties in Peru, Mexico, and Chile. Market cap of $30.28B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 37.98% from 29.03% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.22 from 0.17, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.95 from 1.96. Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 8.51% above its SMA20, 14.58% above its SMA50, and 15.4% above its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.05%.

10. Harsco Corporation (NYSE:HSC): Provides engineered solutions to industrial customers worldwide. Market cap of $1.71B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 3.72% from 2.68% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.24 from 0.20, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.41 from 2.56. The stock has lost 32.66% over the last year.

11. CARBO Ceramics Inc. (NYSE:CRR): Manufactures and supplies ceramic proppants primarily used in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $2.40B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 22.09% from 17.03% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.24 from 0.20, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.16 from 1.17. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.86% (equivalent to 5.81 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 18.91% over the last week.

12. Quaker Chemical Corporation (NYSE:KWR): Develops, produces, and markets formulated chemical specialty products for various heavy industrial and manufacturing applications. Market cap of $553.84M. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 7.33% from 4.61% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.36 from 0.32, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.99 from 2.39. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.61). The stock has gained 10.77% over the last year.

13. Complete Production Services, Inc. (NYSE:CPX): Provides specialized completion and production services and products to develop hydrocarbon reserves for oil and gas companies primarily in North America and southeast Asia. Market cap of $2.47B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 10.03% from 8.05% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.28 from 0.24, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.16 from 2.23. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.98). The stock has gained 15.3% over the last year.

14. The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW): Manufactures and supplies products used as raw materials in the production of customer products and services worldwide. Market cap of $39.48B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 5.96% from 4.64% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.23 from 0.19, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.77 from 3.01. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.33). The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.86%.

15. Swift Energy Co. (NYSE:SFY): Engages in developing, exploring, acquiring, and operating oil and natural gas properties in Louisiana and Texas. Market cap of $1.44B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 11.91% from 8.83% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.0741 from 0.0683, while Assets/Equity decreased to 1.98 from 2.13. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.97% (equivalent to 5.37 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.55% over the last week.

16. NewMarket Corp. (NYSE:NEU): Engages in the petroleum additives and real estate development businesses. Market cap of $2.90B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 12.80% from 9.69% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.46 from 0.44, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.18 from 2.26. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.31% (equivalent to 16.07 days of average volume). The stock has gained 69.69% over the last year.

17. SandRidge Energy, Inc. (NYSE:SD): Operates as an independent natural gas and oil company in the United States. Market cap of $3.33B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 158.11% from 124.90% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.06 from 0.05, while Assets/Equity decreased to 3.20 from 3.57. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.09). The stock has gained 10.99% over the last year.

18. Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ROC): Develops, manufactures, and markets specialty chemicals and materials for industrial and commercial applications primarily in Germany, the United States, and Europe. Market cap of $3.66B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 8.07% from 5.05% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.20 from 0.17, while Assets/Equity decreased to 3.37 from 4.84. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.87). The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.32%.

19. Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP): Produces and markets inorganic mineral products primarily in North America and the United Kingdom. Market cap of $2.42B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 15.10% from 10.97% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.20 from 0.18, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.75 from 3.51. The stock has lost 16.38% over the last year.

20. Cytec Industries Inc. (NYSE:CYT): Engages in developing, manufacturing, and selling chemical products worldwide. Market cap of $2.45B. MRQ Net Profit Margin increased to 6.15% from 5.38% year-over-year, Sales/Assets increased to 0.21 from 0.19, while Assets/Equity decreased to 2.07 from 2.18. The stock has lost 2.98% over the last year.

*Accounting data sourced from Google Finance, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 20 Basic Materials Stocks With Strong Sources Of Profitability