NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- They make things like polymers, adhesives, resins, caustics, solvents, abrasives and ethers.
They manufacture such substances as polyethylene and polyurethane and polypropylene and polybutylene terephthalate and ethylene dichloride and estrobond triacetin plasticizer, which is what becomes the filters on cigarettes.
And they're as necessary to the civilization we find ourselves in as roads and running water.
Chemicals: It's one of those behind-the-curtain industries no one thinks about (or wants to think about) until they drive by one of their sprawling plants, all smokestack and twisting pipe, like some science-fiction city -- or consider buying one of their stocks.It's an interesting moment for chemicals, split into two subsectors, the commodity chemicals and the "performance" or "specialty" chemicals. The chemical companies on our list of four -- Dow Chemical (DOW), DuPont (DD), Eastman Chemical (EMN) and Celanese (CE) -- are among the biggest and the baddest in the land, and they've all benefited since the second quarter from a potent combo: quickening demand, especially in export markets, and declining raw materials costs. This last dynamic is especially true in the commodity chemicals realm, where natural gas, a crucial feedstock, remains cheap.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV