We're a little bit past the halfway mark of 2019, and stock prices for most plastics material stocks are higher than they were at the start of the year.
But the amounts of those increases vary, and some firms even have seen share prices drop.
Wall Street, in general, has seen substantial growth in 2019, with the Dow Jones Industrial average up 16 percent and the S&P 500 up 19 percent as of early trading July 18. Based on per-share prices, composites makers Rogers Corp. (up 60 percent) and Hexcel Corp. (up 38 percent) have far exceeded these growth rates so far in 2019, as has styrenic block copolymer producer Kraton Performance Polymers (up 21 percent).
The plastics materials stock most closely matching the overall market so far this year is Celanese Corp., with per-share price growth of a little less than 17 percent through July 17.
Several other materials stocks have shown price growth below market levels. This group includes PolyOne Corp., LyondellBasell Industries, Eastman Chemical Co., Huntsman Corp. and Cabot Corp., all of which are up 2-7 percent. Westlake Chemical Corp.'s per-share price is up less than 1 percent. The per-share price of Dow Inc. is up almost 4 percent since it split from DowDuPont in late March.
Materials firms wishing to hit the reset button on 2019 include AdvanSix (down 2 percent), DuPont (down 8 percent), Trinseo (down 21 percent) and Chemours Co. (down 33 percent).
In April, market analyst Aleksey Yefremov of Tokyo-based Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. upgraded his outlook on chemicals stocks, including Dow, LyondellBasell, Huntsman and Eastman.
Yefremov told Barron's that although chemicals profit margins are low, they're likely to improve because macroeconomic conditions in China are getting better. Better demand there could help boost margins for chemicals companies globally, he added.