Per-share stock prices at several materials firms have fared better than the overall stock market so far in 2022.
As of late trading May 19, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 14 percent this year, with the broader S&P 500 down more than 18 percent. Concerns ranging from inflation to supply chain issues to higher energy prices tied to the Ukraine crisis have sent prices down for many stocks.
But shareholders in Westlake Corp. could be forgiven if they had no idea a potential recession was even being discussed. Per-share prices at the Houston-based maker of PVC, polyethylene and construction products are up 34 percent so far this year.
Per-share prices at Chemours Co., Cabot Corp., Dow Inc. and LyondellBasell Industries also are humming along this year, with each up 17-24 percent. At Huntsman Corp. and Hexcel Corp., per-share prices are roughly flat for the year.
Other materials firms haven't been so fortunate at avoiding the larger economic trend. Per-share prices at Celanese Corp., Avient Corp., Eastman Chemical Co., DuPont Co. and Trinseo each were down 9-20 percent through May 19. At Advansix Inc., prices were down almost 2 percent.
In the longer term, petrochemical markets look to remain strong, according to a recent website post from Darryl Xu with the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm in Houston.
"As energy use of global liquids declines significantly from 2027, non-energy use will continue to grow through to 2040," Xu said. "This will drive many refiners towards deeper integration downstream, with petrochemicals representing a major alternative source of demand."