Much like the broader economy, plastics materials stocks have been sending mixed signals so far in 2023.
Higher interest rates and the possibility of recession — and now potential bank turmoil — have spread uncertainty throughout financial markets. This is seen in the Dow Jones Industrial Average being down 2.5 percent this year as of late trading March 23, while the broader S&P 500 is up 4.2 percent.
Materials stocks have been equally mixed. Per-share prices at four of the 11 public materials firms tracked by Plastics News are up 9-14 percent in that period. That group includes Avient Corp., Westlake Corp., Hexcel Corp. and Cabot Corp.
Per-share prices at Dow Inc. have seen a gain of 2.5 percent, while Celanese Corp.'s per-share price is down less than 1 percent. Price drops of 2-5 percent have been seen at Eastman Chemical Co., Chemours Co., Huntsman Corp. and AdvanSix Inc.
Trinseo's per-share stock price has had the roughest go of it, dropping more than 11 percent in that almost three-month stretch.
Earlier this year, consulting firm Deloitte said that heading into 2023, the chemical industry "is in a strong financial position."
"The year ahead could be a turning point when companies emphasize the long-term viability of product portfolios in the context of sustainability in a move toward asset-oriented deal-making," officials said in a research report.
They added that this trend "will take longer to scale, given the uncertainty around feedstock prices, energy demand, supply chain, and end-market demand, affecting the appetite for strategic buyers" but that the foundations for this shift "are being laid in the current environment."