Chem shares fall amid rise of Omicron COVID-19 variant

Al Greenwood

26-Nov-2021

HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-listed shares of chemical companies fell sharply on Friday with the general market amid concerns of a new variant of COVID-19.

The table below shows the major indices followed by ICIS.

26-Nov Change %
Dow Jones Industrial Average 34,899.34 -905.04 -2.53
S&P 500 4,594.62 -106.84 -2.27
Dow Jones US Chemicals Index 867.99 -18.91 -2.13
S&P 500 Chemicals Industry Index 883.99 -18.02 -2.00

The business publication CNBC said Friday’s declines were the worst of 2021.

Oil prices fell sharply, as shown in the following table.

Contract Low High Open Settle
Brent Jan 72.14 81.66 81.65 72.72
WTI Jan 67.40 78.65 78.34 68.15

The declines come amid fears of the new B.1.1.529 variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) named it Omicron.

The first known confirmed case of the variant was from a specimen collected on 9 November, WHO said. It was first reported to the organisation on 24 November.

Omicron has a large number of mutations that suggest a higher chance of reinfection when compared with other variants of concern, WHO said.

New travel restrictions could lower demand for oil. Already, US President Joe Biden ordered travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries.

Biden did not specify the countries in his announcement, but CNBC reported that they were Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, all of which are in southern Africa.

The European Commission recommended that all air travel to countries in southern Africa should be suspended until more is known about Omicron.

The UK added South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia to its travel red list, which imposes restrictions to travellers from those countries. The UK also imposed a temporary flight ban.

The table below shows the performance of US-listed shares followed by ICIS.

Name $ Current
Price
$ Change % Change
AdvanSix 46.93 -1.24 -2.57
Avient 57.4 -2.01 -3.38
Axalta Coating Systems 31.33 -1.23 -3.78
Braskem 18 -0.2 -1.1
Celanese 160.89 -5.07 -3.06
Dow 57.6 -1.03 -1.76
DuPont 76.96 -1.74 -2.21
Eastman 110.5 -2.54 -2.25
HB Fuller 73.9 -2.81 -3.66
Huntsman 32.57 -0.43 -1.3
Ingevity 74.3 -3.63 -4.66
Kraton 45.9 -0.05 -0.11
Kronos Worldwide 14.45 -0.45 -3.02
LyondellBasell 89.44 -0.99 -1.09
Methanex 42.18 -1.69 -3.85
NewMarket 340.26 -2.18 -0.64
Olin 58.7 -1.34 -2.23
PPG 155.6 -3.16 -1.99
RPM International 91.51 -1.86 -1.99
Sherwin-Williams 323.3 -4.72 -1.44
Stepan 118.29 -3.68 -3.02
Chemours 30.85 -1.67 -5.14
Trinseo 50.17 -1.64 -3.17
Tronox 23.57 -0.42 -1.75
Univar 26.99 -1.15 -4.09
Venator Materials 2.85 -0.09 -3.06
Westlake Chemical 99.17 -3.23 -3.15

Thumbnail shows a candlestick chart, which is commonly used to illustrate the stock market. Image by Shutterstock

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