Well that was an intense start to the week on Monday, wasn't it?
While I have neither a degree in economic forecasting nor a Magic 8 Ball, I think I'm safe in saying that things may not calm down very quickly. Also, you may not want to take a look at your company stock options or 401(k) statement right now.
Materials reporter Frank Esposito was tracking activity on the stock market and noted that per-share prices of all 15 of the materials stocks covered by Plastics News took a beating. The most eye-popping drops in late trading March 9 were seen by Dow Inc., Westlake Chemical Corp. and AdvanSix Inc., each of which were down more than 20 percent for the day at that time.
Since Feb. 20, per-share prices of Midland, Mich.-based Dow, a global maker of polyethylene and many specialty plastics, are down more than 36 percent. Per-share prices at Houston-based Westlake, a maker of PE and PVC resins as well as many finished PVC products, also are down more than 36 percent.
AdvanSix, a New Jersey maker of nylon 6 resin, has fared even worse, tumbling 51 percent since Feb. 20.
Beyond stock prices, the new volatility in the oil market is pointing to turmoil in chemicals. Consulting firm ICIS noted that naptha fell 24 percent as trading opened on March 9, styrene by 10 percent and benzene by 14 percent.
Those materials are key materials behind polystyrene, PVC, isocyanates and other plastics while naptha is a global price setter for polyethylene.