Stockholders in Celanese Corp., Hexcel Corp. and Rogers Corp. will be sad to see 2019 go. Those holding stock in Chemours Co., meanwhile, bought their 2020 calendars a long time ago.
Those firms represent the highs and lows of the 15 publicly traded materials stocks tracked by Plastics News. Per-share stock prices at Celanese, Hexcel and Rogers each are up 28-38 percent since Jan. 1, as of early trading Dec. 5. Chemours stock, meanwhile, has dropped 47 percent per share in the same comparison.
Wall Street has enjoyed more-than-solid growth in 2019, with the Dow Jones Industrial average up 18 percent and the S&P 500 up 24 percent. Overall, 11 of the 15 firms tracked by PN have higher per-share prices now than they did on Jan. 1.
In addition to the three price leaders mentioned, per-share prices at Huntsman Corp. are up 15 percent while LyondellBasell Industries are up 10 percent in that same comparison. More modest per-share price growth has been seen at PolyOne Corp., Kraton Performance Polymers, Eastman Chemical Co., Cabot Corp. and Westlake Chemical Corp., all of which are up 2-8 percent. The per-share price of Dow Inc. also is up 7 percent since it split from DowDuPont in late March.
Firms looking forward to better days — and higher per-share prices — in 2020 include AdvanSix, DuPont Co. and Trinseo. Per-share prices at those firms are down 18-23 percent as of Dec. 5.
A recent industry report from Reuters Events said that although resin demand continues to grow, petrochemical companies have felt pressure on several fronts since 2018, including slowing economic growth outlook, the U.S.-China trade war and "the plastic backlash."
The report added that there's concern that new added resin capacity coming online in the U.S., especially for polyethylene, could oversupply the market. That concern, according to the report, "has kept plastics prices down and eaten into [profit] margins."