The Basic Materials sector (XLB) held steady during a trading day that saw the S&P 500 grow 1.3%.

The ETF, as a proxy for the sector, tracked farther from the overall market today than over the past week. Entering today's trading, XLB was down 0.3% over the last seven trading days while the S&P 500 climbed -0.8%.

Cytec Industries (CYT) was a significant gainer in the sector, rising 11.4%. The stock closed at $64.06 with 2.2 million shares moving. The stock traded in a range of $62.53 to $64.90. The stock has risen $14.05 (28.1%) over the last three months from a price of $50.01 on January 13, 2012. Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) was another big mover, climbing $2.14 (+5.5%) to a closing price of $41.37.

China Armco Metals (CNAM) was a major loser in the sector, falling 8.9% (-8 cents) to close at 82 cents with 394,914 shares moving. The stock traded between 73 cents and 94 cents.

United States Steel Corporation (X) rose 7.5% to close at $29.37, cross its 50-day moving average of $28.63 and 200-day moving average of $27.73.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) rose 5.9% to close at $37.89, approaching its 50-day moving average of $39.49. It has also moved closer to its 200-day moving average of $40.42.

Amyris (AMRS) hit a new 52-week low today, hitting $3.59 to fall below the previous low of $3.64.