Per-share stock prices of plastics materials firms came crashing back to Earth in 2018 after flying high the year before.
Through Dec. 17, per-share prices for all 15 materials firms tracked by Plastics News were substantially lower than they were on Jan. 1. Concerns about slowing global growth and fears that stock valuations may have peaked played a role in this pricing downfall.
Among this group, Kraton Polymers' per-share price fared the worst in 2018, tumbling 57 percent through Dec. 17. Westlake Chemicals, Huntsman Corp., Chemours Co., Trinseo and Advansix didn't fare much better, with per-share prices sliding 41-48 percent in the same comparison.
Investors in PolyOne Corp., Omnova Solutions, Cabot Corp., Rogers Corp. and DowDuPont also sang the blues in 2018, as they saw share prices decline 31-39 percent.
Per-share prices at Eastman Chemical Co., Celanese Corp. and LyondellBasell Industries went through slumps that weren't quite as bad, descending 22-29 percent.
The only plastics-related public firm that had avoided a double-digit price drop through Dec. 17 was Hexcel Corp. — and that firm just barely missed, with a drop of 9.7 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4.2 percent and the broader S&P 500 slipped 4.8 percent in the same comparison.
Research firm S&P Global of New York expects pretax profits for chemicals firms to increase in 2019 — which could lift per-share stock prices — but its analysts said in a recent note that global risks for 2019 "have increased over 2018, alongside protectionist measures and trade tension between the U.S. and China."