Eastman, Dow, DuPont: Betting on a Global Recovery with Chemicals

Eastman ChemicalEastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN) was up over 12% last week as earnings beat expectations. The company posted EPS of $1.57, while consensus estimates were at $1.42 a share. The chemical industry should see positive demand in the future as global growth grows at 2.6% in 2013, up from a projected growth of 2.4% in 2012.

With a beta of 2.0, the company will definitely be able to capitalize on a global economic recovery. Eastman has shown positive performance thanks to a major acquisition and low raw material costs. Management now expects  to earn $5.30-$5.40 per share for 2012, which is ahead of the consensus of $5.26 a share.

Eastman competes with the top two chemical companies in the U.S. The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) is the largest American chemical company, and E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD) is the second largest U.S. chemicals manufacturer. Also worth noting is that both of these top chemical companies pay dividends that yield in excess of 4%.

Unlike Eastman, Dow Chemical saw lower than expected earnings estimates and lowered its full year guidance. Last quarter, the company posted EPS of $0.42, versus the same quarter a year ago of $0.62. The company did manage to see improvements in its agricultural and performance plastics segments. As well, the company plans to undertake various cost cutting initiatives to sustain earnings should a weak global economy continue. Among these include the recently announced closure of twenty manufacturing facilities and cutting of 2,400 jobs.

DuPont also announced lower than expected earnings for last quarter and a reduced full year EPS outlook, which drug the stock down 10% over the past week. The company posted EPS of $0.44, compared to $0.69 for the prior year. DuPont attributed the decline to volume decreases in performance chemicals and a slowdown in Asia, while Dow cited the slowdown in Europe as their biggest headwind.

Following the announcement, S&P lowered its recommendation on DuPont from buy to sell and placed a $41 price target on the company, where the company current trades around $45.25. The news comes even after the company’s effort to boost its cash business by selling off its performance coatings segment to the Carlyle Group for $4.9 billion back in August; check out our other thoughts on whether DuPont is a good buy.

Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE) is another chemical producer, focused on industrials and engineered plastics. Sales are expected to fall 1% in 2012, with growth picking up in 2013, growing in the range of 5%-7%. The company’s 2013 growth should be driven by improvements in domestic manufacturing and a rise in engineered plastics used in North America’s auto industry. The company is also making trends in geographic expansion, but has more exposure to weakness in Europe and Asia given over 70% of its sales come from outside the U.S.

FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) is a diversified producer of industrial, specialty and agricultural chemicals. After an 8.4% rise in sales for 2011, the company is expected to grow sales another 10.5% in 2012. This chemical company is riding EPS growth that assumes the global farm economy will pickup and that Brazil will see more acreage planted as crops rise. The company has renewed its focus on the higher margin agricultural business, which should help it to see margin expansion in the future.

With Eastman coming off three straight quarterly EPS beats of 7.5% or more, we believe the company is showing positive signs of navigating a tough economic environment and might be ripe for buying. The company is expected to grow next year’s EPS by 18% and still trades at only 10x forward earnings.

Meanwhile, Celanese is also worth taking a look at. The company trades at industry low multiples, while also having some of the more robust growth prospects once global growth returns. Where the other chemical companies listed trade at average trailing P/E ratios of 18x, Celanese trades at a mere 10x earnings. Eastman and Celanese also trade at industry-low PEG ratios, both below 1.5.

Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

The 10 Largest Pharmaceutical Companies In the World

The 10 Most Expensive Android Apps

The 9 Most Expensive Designer Bags in the World

The 7 Most Expensive Real Estate in the World

The 10 Most Expensive eBay Items Ever Sold

The 10 Most Expensive iPhone Apps

The 9 Most Expensive Designer Shoes in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Cigarette Brands

The 10 Most Expensive Law Schools in the US

The 10 Best Wall Street Movies

The 10 Most Expensive Golf Clubs Ever Sold

The 10 Most Expensive Golf Memberships

The 10 Best Disney Characters Ever Created

The 8 Best Foods for Gaining Weight

The 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the World

The 7 Most Memorable Ad Campaigns of All Time

The 7 Most Expensive High Schools in the World

The 10 Electric Vehicles with the Longest Range

The 10 Cities with the Worst Drivers in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Dresses Ever Created

10 Islands to Visit Before You Die

10 Famous Celebrities Who Needed Rehab

The 15 Countries with the Largest Oil Reserves

The 10 Most Overused Excuses in the World

The 5 Best iOS Apps You Can’t Get on Android

5 Companies Damaged By Social Media Blunders

The 10 Most Legendary Blues Songs

The 10 Most Lawless Places in the World

4 Reasons China is a Threat to the US

The 17 Most Sugary Drinks in the World

The 10 Most Ruthless Rulers in History

The 10 Greatest Generals in History

Top 8 Travel Destinations for 2015

The 10 Safest Dog Breeds for Children

The 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in the US

The 7 Most Expensive Celebrity Weddings

The 10 Best LoL Teams in the World

Top 10 Worst Marketing Campaigns Ever Produced

Top 5 Diets that Help You Lose Weight

The 10 Best Ways to Stay Awake

7 Artists That Switched Musical Genres

The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in New Jersey

The 10 Best High Schools in New York

The 10 Countries With the Least Gender Inequality

The 6 Biggest Musician-Manager Feuds

The 10 Countries with the Cheapest Gas Prices

The 7 Most Theatrical Bands of All Time

The 8 Worst Band Breakups of All Time

The 10 Most Important South American Leaders

The 7 Most Successful Casting Show Winners

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!