A computer glitch knocked out the New York Stock Exchange for four hours today. Executives with plastics material maker Cytec Industries likely were racing to Wall Street from their New Jersey headquarters, offering to do whatever they could to get the big board running again.
That's because Cytec's per-share stock price was up almost 31 percent for 2015 through July 7. That's the biggest first-half jump enjoyed by any of the 15 publicly held materials firms tracked by Plastics News.
Plastics-related products made by Woodland Park, N.J.-based Cytec include specialty thermoplastic composites and polymer additives such as light stabilizers and antioxidants. The firm's per-share stock price bottomed out near $43 in mid-January but rose from that point, passing the $60 mark in late May. It remained just under $60 in late trading July 8.
Investors apparently smiled on Cytec's 5 percent first-quarter sales gain. President and CEO Shane Fleming said April 16 that the firm's Aerospace Materials unit “delivered excellent results” in the first quarter because of volume growth in both the commercial transport and military sectors.
Polyolefins giant LyondellBasell Industries wasn't far behind Cytec, with first-half stock price improvement of 23 percent. Dow Chemical Co., Kraton Performance Polymers, Hexcel Corp. and Celanese Corp. each enjoyed stock price gains of 11-20 percent in the first half. PolyOne Corp., Eastman Chemical Co. and Westlake Chemical Co. each enjoyed more modest first-half price gains of 1-5 percent.
On the other side of the ledger, Rogers Corp. probably wouldn't mind if the NYSE stayed down for a few more months. Through July 7, Rogers' per-share stock price was down 22 percent so far in 2015 — the biggest tumble among the PN 15.
Rogers — a maker of urethane foams, fluoropolymers, laminates and thermoplastic circuit materials in Rogers, Conn. — saw its stock price tumble from $80 as recently as late April to just above $61 in late trading July 8. The firm on April 29 reported record quarterly sales of $165 million for the first quarter, but investors apparently weren't happy that quarterly profit was down 6.5 percent vs. the same quarter in 2014.
In a news release, President and CEO Bruce Hoechner said that Rogers' first-quarter results “were tempered by what we believe is temporary weaker demand in some of our markets, as well as the unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates.”
Other material firms have struggled as well in the first half of the year. Axiall Corp.'s per-share price is down 18 percent, while DuPont Co.'s was off almost 16 percent and Omnova Solutions had slipped almost 10 percent. Huntsman Corp. was slightly better with a dip of almost 7 percent, while A. Schulman Inc. had slid almost 3 percent.
The vast stock price swings seen by these plastic materials firms was even more in contrast with the broader stock market, which didn't see all that much movement for 2015 through July 7. The Dow Jones Industrial Average — a common stand-in for “the market” — was down only 0.3 percent in that period, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 was up only 1.1 percent.