The S&P 500 lost 0.3% while the Basic Materials sector (XLB) showed little movement during trading today.

The ETF, as a proxy for the sector, tracked closer to the overall market today than over the past week. Going into trading today, the S&P 500 was up 0.8% over the last seven trading days, but XLB was down 0.2%.

Balchem Corporation (BCPC) was a major gainer in the sector, rising 9.6% (+$2.68) to close at $30.71 with 315,342 shares moving. The stock traded in a range of $28.10 to $31.23. Over the last three months, the stock has lost $7.24 (-19.1%) from a price of $37.95 on February 3, 2012.

The Eastern Company (EML) was a major loser in the sector. Its price dropped 6.7% (-$1.78) to close at $24.71, as 8,245 shares moved. The stock traded between $24.07 and $25.94.

Clearwater Paper (CLW) rose 6.9% to close at $33.95, cross its 50-day moving average of $32.36 and 200-day moving average of $34.62. L.B. Foster Company (FSTR) climbed 4.1% to close at $28.16, moving past its 200-day moving average of $28.11.

Dynamic Materials Corporation (BOOM) rose 4.9% to close at $19.19, approaching its 50-day moving average of $19.89. It has also moved closer to its 200-day moving average of $20.86. Gold Resource Corporation (RIO) fell 2.5% to close at $26.09, moving closer to its 50-day moving average of $25.48. Also, the stock moved closer to its 200-day moving average of $54.80.

American Vanguard (AVD) hit a new 52-week high today, reaching $26.38 to top the previous high of $25.71.