Chems crash as US Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 391 points

22 September 2011 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

US chem stocks fallHOUSTON (ICIS)--North American chemical stocks fell sharply on Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 391 points, continuing a rout that started on Wednesday.

The index fell 3.51% to close at 10,733.83.

The Dow was the latest global exchange to drop sharply.

In Europe, the UK's FTSE 100 had closed 4.79% down, Germany’s DAX had closed down by 5.15% and the CAC 40 in France had fallen 4.59%.

Asian petrochemical shares also dropped on Thursday, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index ending 2.07% down at closing. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng exchange fell by 4.85%, while the Seoul Composite Stock Price Index ended down 2.90%.

The US kicked off the rout on Wednesday in the final minutes of trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by nearly 284 points, or 2.49%.

US stocks started declining after the Federal Reserve Board said there were "significant downside risks to the economic outlook".

The wording differed from an earlier statement issued on 9 August, when the Fed did not qualify the risks as "significant".

Instead, it said "downside risks to the economic outlook have increased".

The Fed made the assessment while it was announcing new measures designed to lower long-term US interest rates.

In Thursday's declines, chemical stocks were hit particularly hard, with the US Dow Jones Chemical Index falling by nearly 6%.

All but one stock followed by ICIS fell.

Biocides producer Arch Chemicals rose by 0.04%. However, Arch's share price is being supported by a $47.20/share acquisition offer from Lonza, a Switzerland-based fine and specialty chemical producer.

Among the losers, compounder Spartech was the biggest, falling by nearly 13%. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) producer Georgia Gulf was close behind.

Many chemical companies fell by more than 6%, with losses exceeding 9% recorded by butadiene producer TPC Group, adhesives producer HB Fuller and specialty chemicals producers Rockwood Holdings, Cytec Industries and Solutia.

Among the majors, DuPont fell by 7%, and Dow Chemical fell by 10%.

Fertilizer producer PotashCorp fell by 7%, and industrial gases producer Praxair was down by 4%.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Al Greenwood
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