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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Eastman Chemical, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Celanese, Air Products and Chemicals and PPG Industries

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – May 1, 2013 – Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses the U.S. Chemicals, including Eastman Chemical Company (EMN), E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD), Celanese Corp. (CE), Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD) and PPG Industries Inc. (PPG).

A synopsis of today’s Industry Outlook is presented below. The full article can be read at  

Link: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/27032/chemical-industry-stock-outlook-may-2013

We feel that chemical companies with strong earnings quality, healthy growth trajectories and liquidity profiles are better placed in the current rickety market environment. In particular, this is considering their ability to leverage strong balance sheets and cash flows in maximizing shareholder value in the form of dividends and share repurchases, or use them for value acquisitions.

We have a bullish view on Eastman Chemical Company (EMN), which is well placed to benefit from its Solutia acquisition. The company's diversified chemical portfolio and integrated and diverse downstream businesses represent the pillars of strength. It also benefits from business restructuring, cost-cutting measures and increased capacity additions.

Chemical titan E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD) is witnessing strength in its agriculture and food businesses. Its Agriculture segment delivered healthy sales in the December quarter boosted by higher volume and strong performance of the crop protection business. The company expects continued strong gain in crop protection in 2013 driven by new products. Moreover, DuPont should continue to benefit from the synergies of Danisco acquisition and its aggressive restructuring actions.

We are also optimistic about Celanese Corp. (CE), despite the challenges it faces in Europe. We like the company's initiatives to improve margins and profits by running its plants better and controlling expenses. The company's strong presence in emerging markets, especially in China, will enable it to deliver incremental earnings in 2013. We are also upbeat about the prospect of its TCX ethanol process technology.

We have a favorable view on Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD). Impressive results from its core Merchant Gases segment coupled with Indura and DA NanoMaterials acquisitions helped it to rake in better-than-expected results in the December quarter. Air Products plans to take a number of steps including cost-control measures, restructuring actions, price improvements and volume gains. Its recent strategic moves will position it for future growth and profitability despite the soft economic backdrop.

In the specialty chemical space, PPG Industries Inc. (PPG) represents an attractive play. The company witnessed strong growth in its North American automotive OEM coatings business in the December quarter. Continued momentum across automotive OEM and aerospace markets helped it to post better-than-expected sales in the quarter. It has a diversified base of products and markets, and looks to grow its businesses strategically along with controlling costs.

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Read the analyst report on EMN

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