Other OTC - Other OTC Delayed Price. Currency in USD
+0.03 (+0.18%)
At close: 3:57PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close16.31
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range16.28 - 16.60
52 Week Range15.50 - 24.05
Avg. Volume371,543
Market Cap60.235B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.04
PE Ratio (TTM)8.74
EPS (TTM)1.87
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield0.90 (5.53%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-05-06
1y Target Est29.95
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • New Strong Sell Stocks for August 20th

    New Strong Sell Stocks for August 20th

    Here are 5 stocks added to the Zacks Rank 5 (Strong Sell) List today

  • BASF’s $3 Billion Unit Sale Loses Steam as Buyout Firms Exit

    BASF’s $3 Billion Unit Sale Loses Steam as Buyout Firms Exit

    (Bloomberg) -- Several private equity suitors are considering walking away from BASF SE’s sale of its construction-chemicals business as the auction becomes increasingly focused on corporate buyers, people familiar with the matter said.Advent International’s interest in the business is cooling as the Sept. 9 deadline for the next round of bids approaches, according to the people. Bain Capital and Blackstone Group Inc. are already out of the running for the asset, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.The private equity firms face stiff competition from industrial bidders including cement giant LafargeHolcim Ltd. and Standard Industries Inc., which are still in the process, the people said. Several buyout firms have been frustrated by BASF’s reluctance to provide detailed information on the segment’s earnings for this year, information they need to secure financing, the people said.Corporate bidders with existing knowledge of the industry have had an easier time valuing the business, the people said. The unit could fetch more than 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), Bloomberg News reported last month.BASF rose 1% to 56.77 euros at 10:20 a.m. in Frankfurt trading. The stock has declined 6% this year, giving the company a market value of about 52.1 billion euros.Master BuildersSome suitors were also concerned that a full carveout of the business isn’t expected to be completed until the summer of 2020 as the company deals with a complicated separation that includes dividing the unit’s technology systems from the rest of BASF, the people said.BASF’s construction chemicals unit supplies mortars and cement additives, as well as waterproofing materials and sealants under the legacy Master Builders brand.Lone Star Funds, one of the few remaining private equity bidders, is still in the process, the people said. Cinven Ltd., which owns the potentially complementary business Chryso, continues to participate for now, they said. KKR & Co. has also been considering whether to bid in the next round, the people said.Solo BidStandard Industries, the building materials company that had earlier partnered with Blackstone, is now pursuing a bid on its own, the people said. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty they will proceed with offers, the people said.Representatives for Advent, Bain, BASF, Blackstone, Cinven, KKR, Lone Star and Standard Industries declined to comment.“It is part of management duty that the company looks at potential acquisition targets to complement its strategy of becoming the global leader in building materials,” LafargeHolcim said in an emailed statement. “Strict financial discipline applies with all potential acquisition targets.”The company declined to comment on any potential interest in the BASF unit.(Updates with BASF share price in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Andrew Noël, Jan Dahinten, Dinesh Nair, Kiel Porter and Michael Hytha.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Kirchfeld in London at;Myriam Balezou in London at;Sarah Syed in London at ssyed35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at, ;Liana Baker at, ;Dinesh Nair at, Ben Scent, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • New Strong Sell Stocks for August 5th

    New Strong Sell Stocks for August 5th

    Here are 5 stocks added to the Zacks Rank 5 (Strong Sell) List today

  • Trump Is Spooking Oil Markets More Than Iran

    Trump Is Spooking Oil Markets More Than Iran

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Time was when geopolitical tensions in the Middle East would light a fire under oil prices, even if they didn’t immediately affect prospects for supply. Now, it’s threats to demand that send shock waves through oil markets. And there may be more of those to come.A spate of tanker attacks, drone downings and saber rattling around the Strait of Hormuz has had little impact on oil prices. Perhaps oil traders don’t believe that the world’s most important oil chokepoint will really be closed to tanker traffic – a sentiment I share. The seizure of the tanker Stena Impero is a particularly British problem and we are unlikely to see a growing fleet of foreign ships impounded off Iran. While the harassment of vessels using the waterway may continue, more serious escalation is unlikely – at least without further provocation.In contrast, a tweet from President Donald Trump that he would impose “a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China” was enough to send oil prices into a tailspin. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell by as much as 4% in the 15 minutes after the tweet and ended the day down almost 8%.Those additional tariffs and the ones already imposed are creating headwinds for 100 million barrels a day of global oil demand. That’s a much bigger worry than threats to disrupt crude flows through the Strait of Hormuz, which are around a tenth of that volume, according to tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.The International Energy Agency, whose forecasts are closely watched by oil traders and analysts, has been slashing  its oil demand growth estimates for the first half of 2019. At the beginning of the year, the agency saw pretty consistent growth at a little over 1.4 million barrels a day, with the first half looking slightly stronger than the second. Over the next six months that picture changed dramatically. Estimates of demand growth for the now-finished first half of the year have been cut to just 560,000 barrels a day, while the forecast for the second half has surged to almost 1.8 million. The IEA points to “expected stronger economic growth in the OECD” and the fact that oil prices are lower than they were a year ago to support its stronger second-half forecast. But that is unlikely to last.Crude oil prices may indeed be lower than they were last year, but that’s not much help to motorists in Europe. Weaker currencies and inflexible taxes on gasoline mean that the prices drivers are paying at the pump are within a whisker of where they were last year. That’s not going to stimulate much new demand. Pump prices in the U.S. are only around 10 cents a gallon lower than a year ago and gasoline demand is running below last year’s level, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The July report also notes that “the forecast assumes that the trade standoff between China and the U.S. does not deteriorate over the coming months.” It just got a whole lot worse.One area where demand has been strong is petrochemicals, a segment of the oil market that is seen as a key driver of growth in the years ahead now that the transport sector faces headwinds from electric vehicles and ride-sharing. But here too there are worrying signs. BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company, issued a profit warning last month, while Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden noted a “synchronized recession” in petrochemicals leading to “massive destocking” in the supply chain. That’s not going to help demand in the coming months.It may be too soon to expect a big cut in the demand growth forecast in the IEA’s next report, due Friday, but it will almost certainly come in due course – unless political leaders in Washington or Beijing blink, which seems unlikely.While the world’s oil producers continue to struggle with over-supply, any signs of demand weakness are going to have a disproportionate impact on prices.To contact the author of this story: Julian Lee at jlee1627@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at stebaker@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    New EU gas law, challenged by Nord Stream 2, is valid -spokeswoman

    The European Commission defended on Friday a new European Union natural gas law, which has been challenged by the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying it is in line with the bloc's agreements abroad. "The EU now has clear rules that apply to all pipelines used to import gas into the European market," a Commission spokeswoman said. "The Commission considers that directive 2019/692 is fully compatible with the EU's international obligations," the spokeswoman said.

  • Bloomberg

    Drones Do Deadly Work So You Don’t Have To

    (Bloomberg) -- Here’s a job any worker would be happy to pass off to a drone: Imagine crawling down a ladder into the vast darkness of a 20-story-high storage tank filled with toxic chemical fumes to spend hours searching for corrosion.More than a thousand U.S. laborers have been killed working in confined spaces like that in the past decade. One of them was 43-year-old Clinton Miller, an AkzoNobel NV employee who passed out after entering a tank to retrieve a piece of trash at a North Carolina chemical plant last year. Oxygen levels were found to be just 11% inside the structure, according to a federal incident report.Enter the ever-more capable drone. Companies including Dow Inc., AT&T Inc., BASF SE and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have begun assembling fleets of the flying automatons to take over their most dangerous jobs. Ascending several hundred feet in the air to inspect tanks and towers, squeezing through claustrophobic tunnels to replace a faulty part, or peering into the maw of a flame-belching smokestack—all are jobs that robots are being designed to do, companies say.“We look at these tasks and say, ‘Is there a better way that we can do this without exposing the worker to risk?’ ” said Chris Witte, manager of chemical giant BASF’s Freeport, Texas, site. “The answer is yes. We can send a drone in.” Drones now fly every day at the Freeport plant, keeping workers off scaffolding and out of tanks.For all the talk of automation and robotics replacing human labor, the new uses of drones show how technology can cut costs for companies while dramatically reducing risk, and even saving lives. They also show why businesses are pressing hard in Washington for the ability to use drones in more situations. Inspections of gas flares at Shell’s refineries used to take days, said Randy Burow, Shell’s health and safety manager. To get workers close enough to the flame-spewing stacks to check the pilot light, the system had to be taken offline, then workers were hoisted in a basket several hundred feet high to the top of the stack. Now drones can complete the inspection of still-burning flares in a few hours without a worker ever leaving the ground.In 2017, 166 U.S. workers died in confined spaces. But that number pales when compared with the 887 killed by falls, the second-biggest cause of workplace deaths after car accidents, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.AT&T has invested in a large fleet of drones to help inspect its 65,000 cell towers in the U.S., which can rise as high as 1,000 feet. Working on them is especially perilous: Tower climbers fall to their death at nearly 10 times the rate of construction workers.The telecom giant has used drones to eliminate 5,000 tower climbs in the past 18 months, said Art Pregler, the director of AT&T’s drone program.With high-powered cameras attached, increasingly agile drones operated by an earthbound human can soar to the top of a tower in minutes, float among the steel frames and zoom in for close-up inspections. Drones send images so detailed that workers on the ground can count the threads on a bolt, said Pat Dempsey, who oversees telecommunications maintenance at power utility PSEG Inc. “The fact you don’t have to make a person climb that tower, from a safety standpoint, it’s a game changer.”Federal safety regulators are still reviewing the 2018 incident that killed ​AkzoNobel’s employee. The company declined to comment.Even with precautions including safety gear, air monitoring and rescue workers on standby, things can still go wrong with so-called confined-space entries by people. The scale of some of the tanks is massive, comparable to a 2-inch-tall person crawling into a household water heater unit, said Billy Bardin, Dow’s global technology director.Dow, one of the world’s largest chemical makers, said it used robots for more than 1,000 confined-space entries in 2018, and for another 1,000 external inspections that involved high elevations, significantly cutting down on the risks to its workers.“That kind of entry is one of the most potentially hazardous activities that we do,” said Bardin. The company’s goal is to reduce the number of human entries into such confined spaces to zero by 2025. That would require developing drones that can conduct repairs and other tasks, rather than just broadcast video, according to Bardin.Technology is speeding in that direction. The average commercial drone costs about $25,000, but as requirements become more specialized, the price can rise as high as $250,000, said Chuck Dorgan, sales director at German manufacturer Microdrones GmbH.“I get asked by companies almost every week if we can do something that I’ve never thought of doing with a drone,” said Ed Hine, vice president for operations at PrecisionHawk Inc., another drone company.Apellix, a commercial drone startup in Jacksonville, Florida, is designing drones to paint multistory buildings and industrial structures—a job that now requires workers to be elevated with bucket lifts or scaffolding.“Nobody wants to be at the top of a 200-foot man-lift in 98-degree Southern heat painting an industrial structure,” said company co-founder Jeff McCutcheon.Replacing humans can get complicated: The drones must be tethered to a paint source on the ground, batteries must be periodically recharged and windy conditions can blow paint off target. But McCutcheon predicts within five years drones will allow a two-man ground-based crew to paint the exterior of a Walmart in four hours instead of several days.The number of commercial drones registered with the Federal Aviation Administration exploded in 2018 to 277,000, though that’s still enough to do only a small fraction of industry’s dangerous jobs.Regulations that restrict how far, how high and where drones can fly are expected to loosen in the next few years, leading to wider commercial adoption. The FAA estimates commercial drones could triple by 2023—and possibly increase as much as fivefold.Companies have every reason to accelerate drone use as quickly as they’re allowed.“Drones save us downtime, save cost, save on productivity for our maintenance personnel,” said Dow’s Bardin, “and they eliminate having to put a person in that potentially hazardous environment.”To contact the author of this story: Jack Pitcher in New York at jpitcher2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at, Brendan CaseFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • German Industry Recession Worsens as Companies Cut Profit Goals

    German Industry Recession Worsens as Companies Cut Profit Goals

    (Bloomberg) -- Germany’s industrial crisis is worsening, the economy is at risk of recession and a raft of mounting troubles mean the chance of a near-term turnaround are fading.Trade tensions, weaker demand abroad and the travails of the car industry have built up over the past year to take a toll on the engine of Europe’s economy. They’ve dragged manufacturing into its deepest slump in seven years, and some of the nation’s biggest corporate names from BASF SE to Daimler AG and Continental AG have had to come to terms with a new reality for business.As one of the world’s biggest exporters, Germany is paying a high price for the the slowdown in global trade. The economy is forecast to grow the least in six years in 2019, the Bundesbank sees no sign of an export recovery and some are even saying there’s a risk of recession.All that is being reflected across the corporate landscape, where companies are having to rein in their predictions amid pressure on sales. Engineering firm Duerr AG said Monday it’s facing a “more challenging macroeconomic environment. Chemicals giant BASF earlier this month said trade conflicts have put a dent in global growth, as well as its business.Deutsche Bank WoesBeyond manufacturing, Germany’s image has also been dented by the troubles at Deutsche Bank AG, which is cutting thousands of jobs, and warned Wednesday that its trading slump deepened.Within industry, much of the weakness is centered on cars, where flagging demand is hitting both auto makers and their suppliers while they’re in the midst of an expensive transformation to the world of electric vehicles. Steel and metal firm Kloeckner & Co. SE on Monday cited the automotive industry, as well as a “further weakening outlook for the general economic development,” when it cut its profit forecast.Also hanging over the industry is President Donald Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on European Union cars. The EU on Tuesday ramped up to 35 billion euros ($39 billion) the amount of U.S. goods it would hit with retaliatory levies if Trump follows through. While the worst case could still be avoided, the threat is taking a toll on executive sentiment.“The uncertainty about trade is a dominant driving force, that’s especially relevant for a country like Germany. But there are also other pockets of uncertainty specific to Europe, like negotiations on Brexit,” said Andrew Bosomworth at Pimco in Munich. “And then we’ve got a pretty mature cycle underneath it.”The question for Germany is how bad the downturn, once expected to be temporary, will become. That has repercussions for the euro area, and European Central Bank policy makers have already started laying the groundwork to add further stimulus. They’re expected to hint at interest-rate cuts at their meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday.Concern about the economy, as well as anticipation of ECB easing, has pushed German 10-year bond yields down to -0.37%, and the Bloomberg Euro Index is at a two-year low.While the services sector continues to grow, the constant disappointments for the economy and corporate confidence could take a deeper toll on hiring. Manufacturing employment in the euro region fell in July and the jobs growth in services slowed.There were also troubling signs for French manufacturing on Wednesday, where the factory Purchasing Managers’ Index declined in July and now points to stagnation. A euro-area factory gauge is at the weakest in six years.\--With assistance from Carolynn Look, Catherine Bosley, Paul Dobson, Zoe Schneeweiss and Jana Randow.To contact the reporter on this story: Fergal O'Brien in Zurich at fobrien@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at, Chad Thomas, Andrew BlackmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    BASF, Siemens, Henkel, Roche target of cyber attacks

    German blue-chip companies BASF, Siemens, Henkel along with a host of others said on Wednesday they had been victims of cyber attacks, confirming a German media report which said the likely culprit was a state-backed Chinese group. Alongside the German firms named, companies including drug maker Roche, hotels group Marriott, airline Lion Air, conglomerate Sumitomo, and chemicals group Shin-Etsu were also targeted by the hackers, ARD reported. Industrial conglomerate Siemens, shampoo maker Henkel and Swiss pharma group Roche confirmed that they were affected by "Winnti", while BASF and Covestro also confirmed that they have been attacked.

  • Philips Rejigs Plants in China to Counter Fallout From Trade War

    Philips Rejigs Plants in China to Counter Fallout From Trade War

    (Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips NV, the Dutch maker of goods ranging from medical scanners to electric toothbrushes, is shifting production to China and strengthening local supply chains as an antidote to the trade war with the U.S.With double-digit growth in China in the second quarter, the company can’t afford to miss out on state investment in the latest diagnostic equipment as well as orders from an emerging private health-care industry.Philips is bracing for an additional 20 million-euro ($22 million) burden when the next batch of announced tariffs come into force, spurring Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten to redraw the company’s global footprint. The company had produced all its respiratory masks in China, for example, but will soon begin making them in the Americas as well. Likewise, it will produce more ultrasound equipment in China to meet demand there, sidestepping tariffs.“We are moving towards a regional manufacturing hub strategy as we manufacture in each of these large continents, making us more responsive than we might have been before,” Van Houten said in a Bloomberg Television interview.Van Houten is keen to contain the fallout from the trade war that’s hit a cross-section of industries from cars to chemicals. BASF SE’s profit warning earlier this month highlighted how intricate global supply chains are being disrupted. The Philips CEO signaled that the China-U.S. situation remains at the top of his concerns for this year, yet he still predicted a stronger second half.The Amsterdam-based company hit the top end of its sales growth target range of 6% in the second quarter, it said Monday, beating analysts’ estimates.The shares rose 5.5% to an 18-year high. They have climbed 33% this year, while rival Siemens Healthineers is little changed as it struggled with its blood-testing platform Atellica.Tariffs are affecting a broad range of Philips’ products that flow between China and the U.S., while factories and assembly lines must also contend with duties on many components, Van Houten said.The CEO is betting the trade workaround, investment in innovation and an efficiency drive will see the company through any economic slowdown. New products are reinvigorating Philips’s Personal Health unit, which makes electric toothbrushes, shavers and equipment to help with sleep and respiratory disorders. Sales at the segment grew by 5%.\--With assistance from Nejra Cehic and Manus Cranny.To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Proper in Amsterdam at eproper@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tara Patel at, Andrew Noël, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Investors Can Clean Up On The Dividend With Dow Stock

    Investors Can Clean Up On The Dividend With Dow Stock

    Dow Inc. (NYSE:DOW) has begun to recover in recent weeks. DOW stock spiked higher after its separation from DowDuPont in March. However, it started to decline in April after a JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) analyst rated it an underweight. It would go on to lose almost 23% of its value over the next two months.Source: Shutterstock That decline bottomed on May 31. Although DOW and its industry face deep uncertainty, valuation and cash flows provide a reason to take a chance on Dow stock.The situation is that DOW has become cheap due to trade wars and a murky outlook.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Topping Rival Chemicals ValuationsBack in April, I held a bearish take on DOW stock. Its price-to-earnings (PE) ratio started low as it spun off from the former DowDuPont. Despite the low valuation, l believed it would fall since it still traded at a higher multiple than peers such as LyondellBasell Industries (NYSE:LYB) and Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK). * 10 Stocks to Sell for an Economic Slowdown Since that time, DOW stock has fallen from the $55 per share range, dropping to as low as $46.75 a piece in late May. However, from that point, the price decline has stopped and even shown signs of recovery. Even a recent profit warning from German chemical giant BASF (OTCMKTS:BASFY) did not stop DOW from moving higher over the last week. Now, DOW has again gained to just over $50 per share today.Despite that partial recovery, many of my concerns remain. The uncertainty surrounding Dow stock has weighed on both Dow and its former DowDuPont partners, Corteva (NYSE:CTVA) and DuPont de Nemours (NYSE:DD). The trade war continues to hurt profits as well. As our own Vince Martin pointed out, tariffs could reduce EBITDA by $100 million.My InvestorPlace colleague Tezcan Gecgil believes "the bears are in control" and that DOW stock needs a catalyst. Indeed, profit estimates continue to fall. Analysts predict earnings of $4.35 per share for the year. However, that forecast is down from the $4.92 per share seen as recently as 90 days ago. DOW Stock a Buy at These LevelsStill, with Dow Inc. stock now trading at almost 10% less than the early April price, I also have to agree with Mr. Martin that the current price factors in the challenges DOW faces. The forward PE of 9.6x also compares favorably with the other two companies that used to make up DowDuPont as well as Westlake Chemical. Moreover, despite this low valuation, analysts predict robust levels of profit increases. So far, forecasts place earnings growth at 20.2% for this year and just over 10% in 2020. * 7 Dependable Dividend Stocks to Buy On top of that, investors can collect an annual dividend of $2.80 per share while they wait for this growth to drive the stock price higher. At the current DOW stock price, that amounts to a yield of over 5.5%. The old DowDuPont slashed the dividend in both 2017 and 2018 after years of increases. It remains unclear when (or even if) DOW will resume dividend increases. Still, this provides a significant return while investors wait for a recovery in the equity. Bottom Line on DOW StockAt current levels, both the low PE ratio and the dividend payout justify a position in DOW stock. In some respects, DOW has become cheap for a reason. Trade-war related uncertainty has hurt profits. Also, the company has only existed in its current form since March. This makes evaluating the company from quarter to quarter and predicting future changes in the dividend difficult.However, even amid significant earnings increases, we know that its forward PE ratio has fallen to under 10x. Moreover, the company currently delivers a payout of more than 5.5%. If nothing else, investors can profit from DOW stock merely by treating it as an income play. As the trade war drags on and DOW develops a track record, Dow Inc. stock should profit investors whether or not the stock continues to trade at a low PE ratio.As of this writing, Will Healy did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. You can follow Will on Twitter at @HealyWriting. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Stocks Top Investors Are Buying Now * The 10 Best Cryptocurrencies to Keep on Your Radar * 7 Marijuana Penny Stocks That Could Triple (But You Won't Make Money) The post Investors Can Clean Up On The Dividend With Dow Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 2-Incoming EU chief von der Leyen says "we don't want a hard Brexit"

    In an interview with a consortium of European newspapers, including Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would first wait for a new British prime minister to be chosen and then seek talks. "We don't want a hard Brexit.

  • Moody's

    Port Arthur Navigation District Ind Corp, TX -- Moody's places BASF's A1 rating under review for a downgrade

    Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today placed the A1 senior unsecured notes ratings and (P)A1 senior unsecured MTN programme rating of BASF (SE) (BASF or "the company") and its guaranteed subsidiary BASF Finance Europe NV on review for downgrade. It has also placed under review for downgrade the A1 unsecured rating of revenue bonds guaranteed by BASF.

  • What BASF’s Profit Warning Means for the Global Economy
    Market Realist

    What BASF’s Profit Warning Means for the Global Economy

    On Monday, BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, wreaked havoc on investors by providing a disappointing profit outlook.

  • BASF and America’s Farmers Sound the Climate Change Alarm

    BASF and America’s Farmers Sound the Climate Change Alarm

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Corporate bellwethers aren’t an infallible guide to the state of the global economy, but we still need to pay attention to what these canaries in the business coalmine are telling us. Monday night’s profit warning from Germany’s BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company, is alarming on two counts.First, it shows that industrial demand remains very weak. That might mean we’re much nearer to the end of this long economic upswing than record-breaking stock markets would have you think. Second, extreme weather – in this case the torrential rains that have disrupted the U.S. growing season and hurt demand for crop chemicals – is adding to the pain for big companies. Our changing climate is starting to take a toll on profit.BASF’s shares tumbled almost 6 percent on Tuesday, dragging down chemical stocks and spreading unease in the financial markets. Indeed, the chemicals group is hardly alone in its gloominess. In logistics, FedEx Corp. and the shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk A/S have sounded worried about global trade lately, while the ball-bearings maker Schaeffler AG says the coming months will be tough for the car sector. ArcelorMittal’s steel production cuts in Europe aren’t encouraging either. No wonder sentiment is so febrile.After a difficult 2018, BASF had been fairly optimistic about 2019. Not any more. Now it expects sales to decline slightly this year, while operating profit could fall by as much as 30 percent.Investors were anticipating a poor second quarter – the hedge fund Marshall Wace even built up a big short position – but BASF’s guidance cut suggests this will be more than a brief dip.The company is doing what it can to support its earnings and balance sheet. It is cutting 6,000 jobs and has put its construction chemicals division up for sale. Until industrial demand recovers, though, investors will question its ability to generate enough cash to sustain its shareholder payouts. BASF is committed to increasing its dividend every year, but the rather high 5.4% yield (the last dividend divided by the share price) shows the doubts in the market.Most investors will focus on the comments about the global economy, but the warning about extreme weather is equally unnerving. Last year, low water levels on the Rhine reduced BASF’s profit by 250 million euros. This year, the company is struggling because heavy rainfall across the American Midwest has severely hampered the planting of important crops, and hence reduced demand for chemical crop protection products.The 12 months to May this year were the wettest in the U.S. since records began in 1895. With hotter temperatures, evaporation and the water-holding capacity of the air increases so there’s more heavy rain in some places. A rapidly warming climate and rapidly cooling economy should make investors feel very queasy.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 1-European shares fall as BASF profit warning hits German stocks

    European shares fell on Tuesday as a profit warning from chemicals giant BASF led to a slide in German shares, which were on course to post their biggest drop in two months. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.7% by 0815 GMT, in line with its Asian peers and Wall Street overnight amid dimming hopes of a sharp interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this month.


    BASF Shares Tumble After Chemicals Group Issues 2019 Profit Warning

    BASF shares traded sharply lower in Frankfurt Tuesday after the global chemicals group issued a significant full-year profit warning it said was linked to the U.S.-China trade dispute.

  • BASF shares tumble after chemicals giant slashes outlook

    BASF shares tumble after chemicals giant slashes outlook

    BASF shares fell almost 7% early on Tuesday after an overnight profit warning in which the German chemicals giant citing trade friction forecast a 30% fall in adjusted annual operating profit instead of a rise. The U-turn triggered ratings downgrades from Citibank, JP Morgan, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Jefferies and knocked shares in peers such as Covestro, Evonik, Lanxess and Wacker Chemie.