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Is BHP Billiton (BBL) Outperforming Other Basic Materials Stocks This Year?

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For those looking to find strong Basic Materials stocks, it is prudent to search for companies in the group that are outperforming their peers. BHP Billiton (BBL - Free Report) is a stock that can certainly grab the attention of many investors, but do its recent returns compare favorably to the sector as a whole? One simple way to answer this question is to take a look at the year-to-date performance of BBL and the rest of the Basic Materials group's stocks.

BHP Billiton is one of 239 individual stocks in the Basic Materials sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #5 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank includes 16 different groups and is listed in order from best to worst in terms of the average Zacks Rank of the individual companies within each of these sectors.

The Zacks Rank emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find stocks with improving earnings outlooks. This system has a long record of success, and these stocks tend to be on track to beat the market over the next one to three months. BBL is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).

Within the past quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for BBL's full-year earnings has moved 19.73% higher. This shows that analyst sentiment has improved and the company's earnings outlook is stronger.

Based on the latest available data, BBL has gained about 9.81% so far this year. Meanwhile, the Basic Materials sector has returned an average of 7.35% on a year-to-date basis. This means that BHP Billiton is performing better than its sector in terms of year-to-date returns.

To break things down more, BBL belongs to the Mining - Miscellaneous industry, a group that includes 45 individual companies and currently sits at #100 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, this group has gained an average of 8.16% so far this year, meaning that BBL is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.

Investors in the Basic Materials sector will want to keep a close eye on BBL as it attempts to continue its solid performance.


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