As we continue down the list of the best-performing stocks in the materials sector for 2012, Motley Fool materials analyst Taylor Muckerman tells us which ones are ranked No. 8, No. 7, and No. 6, and really performed admirably for investors this year. He tells us about International Paper (NYSE: IP ) and how a new focus on packaging is helping the company thrive. He also looks at two strong agriculturally focused companies, Monsanto (NYSE: MON ) and CF Industries (NYSE: CF ) , and how they are benefiting from a growing global middle class and a decreasing amount of arable land, which means farmers need higher yields from their crops.
With less and less arable land available around the world, increasing yields from existing plots will become increasingly important to keep up with expected population growth. Cheap and effective fertilizers could be the key to achieving this goal. As the global leader in potash production, PotashCorp has several barriers-to-entry established that make it nearly impossible for competition to break through. Click here now to access The Motley Fool's new premium research report on PotashCorp, in which we cover precisely what these barriers-to-entry are and detail several other key reasons why this company presents such a compelling investment opportunity today.