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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Methanex, Eastman Chemical, Celanese and LyondellBasell Industries

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 13, 2018 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Free Report) , Eastman Chemical Company (EMN - Free Report) , Celanese Corp. (CE - Free Report) and LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (LYB - Free Report) .

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

4 Dividend-Paying Chemical Stocks to Boost Your Returns

The chemical industry continues its positive run this year on the back of healthy demand across automotive and construction end-markets, a recovery in demand for chemicals in the energy market supported by a rebound in oil prices and an upturn in the world economy.

Moreover, President Trump’s business-friendly tax reform contributed to the impressive earnings performance of the U.S. chemical companies in the first quarter. It is likely to remain a major tailwind as the reforms are expected to boost their bottom line, improve cash flow and incentivize capital investments.

How Things Are Shaping Up in the Industry?

Strong Demand in Major Markets: Chemical makers continue to see strong demand from construction and automotive sectors – major chemical end-use markets. The underlying trends in the housing space remain healthy, backed by strong economic growth, steady buyer demand, declining mortgage rates, high homebuilders’ confidence and strong job market scenario.

The automotive sector also continues its good run amid certain challenges, supported by an improving job market, rising personal income, favorable credit conditions, improved consumer confidence and impressive vehicle launches.

A Rebound in Energy: Improving fundamentals in the energy space — a key market for chemicals — has been a major tailwind for the chemical industry. A recovery in crude oil prices has led to an increase in demand for chemicals in the energy market and a favorable pricing environment for chemical products. This is because chemical and oil prices move in tandem.

Higher Production to Drive Growth in U.S. Chemical: The U.S. chemical industry is expected to witness strong gains in the production of agricultural chemicals, consumer products, coatings and bulk petrochemicals this year, per the industry trade group — American Chemistry Council (ACC). The trade group expects a strong growth in several chemical sectors in including fertilizers, petrochemicals, crop protection, coatings and consumer products. The ACC envisions national chemical production (excluding pharmaceuticals) to rise 3.4% in 2018.

Moreover, the group expects continued expansion in production across the United States this year, with the Gulf Coast region witnessing strongest gains. Moreover, growth in output is expected to be driven by higher demand across light vehicles and housing markets as well as upturn in U.S. manufacturing. While the automotive sector is expected to remain at high levels, steady recovery in housing is likely to continue in 2018.

Favorable Shale Gas Economics: The United States continues to be an attractive destination for chemical investment. The American chemical industry has the competitive advantage of accessing abundant supplies of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and shale gas. Economics of shale gas is driving strong capital investment in new chemical projects, which is driving growth in the U.S. chemical space.

Improving Export Markets: The ACC expects strong export markets to bolster the U.S. chemical industry in 2018. It expects two-way trade between the United States and foreign partners to expand 6.2% year over year and reach $241 billion this year on the back of strong demand from overseas markets and domestic manufacturers downstream.

How Dividend Paying Stocks Can Enrich Your Portfolio

Stocks with solid dividend yield and attractive growth prospects offer excellent choices for investors seeking to create a portfolio that performs well in a growing market and offers downside protection.

Consistent dividend payouts underscore a company’s financial strength and stability.  Given the positive developments in the chemical space, it would be a prudent move for investors to add some top-quality dividend stocks in their portfolio.

We have employed the Zacks Stocks Screener to find four top chemical companies that offer a decent dividend yield and sport a favorable Zacks Rank. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Methanex Corporation

This Canada-based chemical company is the world's largest producer and supplier of methanol. The stock currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 and offers dividend yield of 1.9%. It has expected long-term earnings per share growth rate of 15%.

Eastman Chemical Company

This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock is a global chemical producer boasting a broad portfolio of chemical, plastic and fiber products. The stock has a dividend yield of 2.3% and expected long-term earnings per share growth rate of 9.4%.

Celanese Corp.

Irving, TX-based Celanese carries a Zacks Rank #2 and offers dividend yield of 1.9%. It has long-term expected EPS growth rate of 8.9%.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V.

This Netherlands-based company is among the leading plastics, chemical and refining companies globally. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 and offers dividend yield of 3.8%. It has long-term expected EPS growth rate of 9%.

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.



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