During trading today, the Basic Materials sector (XLB) showed little change while the S&P 500 fell 0.1%.

The ETF, as a proxy for the sector, tracked closer to the overall market today than over the past week. Entering today's trading, XLB was down 1.8% over the last seven trading days while the S&P 500 climbed -0.3%.

Increasing 14% (+36 cents) to close at $2.93, Northern Dynasty Minerals (NAK) was a major gainer in the sector. Today, 798,240 shares traded hands. The stock traded in a range of $2.55 to $2.96. The stock has been on the rise in the last two months, up 59 cents (25.2%) from a price of $2.34 on June 29, 2012.

Polypore International (PPO) was a major loser in the sector, falling 7.6% (-$2.60) to close at $31.39 with 3.3 million shares moving. The stock traded in a range of $30.62 to $33. The stock is down over the last two months, having fallen $9 (-22.3%) from a price of $40.39 on June 29, 2012.

Rex American Resources (REX) rose 5% to close at $18.65, cross its 50-day moving average of $18.38 and 200-day moving average of $22.28. AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS) declined 7.4% to close at $5.23, moving below its 50-day moving average of $5.50 and 200-day moving average of $6.52.

Domtar (UFS) rose 1% to close at $72.60, approaching its 50-day moving average of $73.82. It has also moved closer to its 200-day moving average of $81.95. Universal Stainless & Alloy Products (USAP) rose 3.2% to close at $36.33, getting closer to its 200-day moving average or $38.90.