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January 4, 2013

Chemical equities up 20.9% for 2012, ACC report notes

Scott Jenkins

The S&P index for chemical companies rose 20.9% during 2012, according to data included in the latest Weekly Chemistry and Economic Report from the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; By comparison, the wider S&P 500 Index finished the year ahead by 13.4%.
The ACC report said that the S&P chemicals index was up 4.3% in December, compared to only 0.7% for the S&P 500.
Elsewhere in the chemical industry, U.S. specialty chemicals market volume rose 0.3% in November 2012, offsetting a 0.2% decline in October. “This continues the period of mixed activity since spring,” the ACC report says. Of the 28 market and functional specialty chemical segments monitored by ACC, 21 expanded in November, while seven experienced decline, the report points out.
Globally, the ACC report cited data from the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI composite index that indicate the contraction in global manufacturing ended in December. The slight improvement in the index is the first time global manufacturing has moved out of contraction since May 2012.  
In the wider economy, ACC says, most economic data from the last weeks of 2012 suggest that “the economy ended the year on a soft note.” Consumer confidence was down, as were vehicle sales, most likely because of the uncertainty of the last weeks of 2012, when consumer were waiting for an outcome on the fiscal cliff situation. “Although falling off the fiscal cliff was avoided, some damage has occurred to the economy as the business sector limited capital spending and hiring gains,” ACC said.

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