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Chemical producers' shares mixed on growth worries

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of chemical manufacturers were mixed Wednesday on concerns about global growth amid U.S. budget negotiations and Europe's debt struggles.

During the fifth annual Citi Research Basic Materials Symposium, the mood among chemical companies was cautious because of economic uncertainty, Citi Research analyst P.J. Juvekar said.

Companies tied to the U.S. shale gas, housing and aerospace industries offered relatively optimistic outlooks. Manufacturers linked to electronics were more guarded, Juvekar wrote in a research note to clients.

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are working to reach a compromise on the national budget. Without an agreement, huge tax increases and spending cuts will take automatically effect Jan. 1 that economists say could push the U.S. into recession.

In Europe, the region encompassing the 17 countries that use the euro is back in a recession for the first time in three years because of the financial crisis. Leaders are working on a plan to offer more emergency loans to Greece as part of the overall efforts to stabilize the economy.

In afternoon trading, shares of Dow Chemical Co. rose 1 cent to $29.72; DuPont fell 25 cents to $43.19; and Huntsman Corp. fell 39 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $15.90.

LyondellBasell Industries NV rose 40 cents to $47.95, Ashland Inc. rose 14 cents to $70 and Westlake Chemical Corp. rose 30 cents to $70.41.