Shareholders at most of the publicly owned materials firms tracked by Plastics News likely are wishing 2017 would continue for a few more months at least.
Five of those 15 firms saw their stock prices jump by at least 70 percent between Jan. 1 and early trading Dec. 19. Per-share prices for Chemours Corp. and Rogers Corp. each more than doubled. Westlake Chemical Corp. saw its per-share price climb almost 84 percent, while Kraton Corp.'s price was up almost 73 percent and Huntsman Corp.'s soared almost 72 percent. Huntsman's big price jump occurred even as the firm's planned megamerger with Clariant International Ltd. fell through.
Shareholders in PolyOne Corp. and Celanese Corp. each enjoyed price increases of almost 40 percent in that time period. At Trinseo Corp., Eastman Chemical Co., Hexcel Corp. and LyondellBasell Industries, prices were up 20-30 percent.
A. Schulman Inc. had been struggling for most of the year, but was up almost 10 percent in the same comparison. DowDuPont Inc. — the combination of industry giants Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. — began trading Aug. 31. Its share price is up more than 6 percent from that point. Per-share prices for its predecessor firms had been up 10-20 percent in the first half of the year.
Only Omnova Solutions and Nexeo Solutions are shouting "good riddance" to 2017. Per-share prices at both firms are down 0.5 percent since Jan. 1.
By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost 24 percent since Jan. 1, the S&P 500 has grown almost 18 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ index has climbed almost 26 percent.
The chemical industry "is back on the growth path after being roiled by the global economic crisis," according to a recent report from Zacks Investment Research. Celanese and Eastman were identified in the report as companies that beat expected earnings for the third quarter.
Their outperformance "was supported by solid demand across major end markets as well as strategic measures including productivity improvement, pricing actions and portfolio restructuring," the report said.
The chemical industry in general "has enjoyed a positive run this year, helped by an upswing in the world economy and continued strength across major end-use markets such as construction, automotive and electronics," the report added.