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Are Basic Materials Stocks Lagging Ecolab (ECL) This Year?

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The Basic Materials group has plenty of great stocks, but investors should always be looking for companies that are outperforming their peers. Has Ecolab (ECL - Free Report) been one of those stocks this year? A quick glance at the company's year-to-date performance in comparison to the rest of the Basic Materials sector should help us answer this question.

Ecolab is a member of the Basic Materials sector. This group includes 240 individual stocks and currently holds a Zacks Sector Rank of #10. The Zacks Sector Rank considers 16 different groups, measuring the average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the sector to gauge the strength of each group.

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. Ecolab is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy).

Over the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for ECL's full-year earnings has moved 5.8% higher. This means that analyst sentiment is stronger and the stock's earnings outlook is improving.

Based on the most recent data, ECL has returned 12% so far this year. At the same time, Basic Materials stocks have lost an average of 0.1%. This means that Ecolab is outperforming the sector as a whole this year.

Lundin Mining (LUNMF - Free Report) is another Basic Materials stock that has outperformed the sector so far this year. Since the beginning of the year, the stock has returned 41.3%.

In Lundin Mining's case, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year increased 44.8% over the past three months. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Breaking things down more, Ecolab is a member of the Chemical - Specialty industry, which includes 33 individual companies and currently sits at #98 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, stocks in this group have lost 18.8% this year, meaning that ECL is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.

On the other hand, Lundin Mining belongs to the Mining - Non Ferrous industry. This 12-stock industry is currently ranked #39. The industry has moved +27.5% year to date.

Going forward, investors interested in Basic Materials stocks should continue to pay close attention to Ecolab and Lundin Mining as they could maintain their solid performance.

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