Despite rising oil prices, subprime mortgage woes and the ongoing weakness of the housing market, the Dow Industrials kept meeting and surpassing old markers as our session rolled to a close June 29, 2007. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady when it met at the end of our session. Though at times volatile, Wall Street moved to an upbeat drummer for the session and the quarter. “It’s a surprising performance,” said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. “The market has done surprisingly well given the expectations we had coming into the year, with the economy slowing, concerns about oil prices and interest rates.”
The PCI Suppliers’ Index strode confidently ahead, adding 70.01 points, or 6.15 percent to end at 1208.44. Germany’s Altana Group, parent of BYK, filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission and was delisted from the New York Exchange as of May 21, 2007. Altana was removed from the index. Of the 35 companies now tracked in the index, advancing issues handily outweighed declining issues by a 4-to-1 margin.
Shares of FMC jumped 12.46 points, or 16.20 percent for the session after the company reported first quarter income of $45.8 million, or $1.17 per share, compared to net income of $37.7 million, or $0.95 per share earned in last year’s first quarter. “With our strong first quarter performance, we have raised our full-year 2007 outlook for earnings before restructuring and other income and charges to $6.00 to $6.20 per diluted share,” said William Walter, FMC CEO, president and chairman. “For the year, we anticipate stronger growth in agricultural products and specialty chemicals than previously expected, while our outlook for industrial chemicals is unchanged.” FMC closed at 89.39, and was the top dollar gainer.
Eastman shed 3.37 points, or 4.98 percent, and closed at 64.33. Eastman shareholders voted down a proposal that would have limited executive benefits according to its supplemental retirement plans, and approved a long-term compensation plan.
Huntsman rose 4.71 points, or 24.03 percent after Dutch-owned Basell offered $5.6 billion in cash for the company. At $25.25 per share, the deal represents a 34 percent premium over the closing price when the transaction was announced. The acquisition is subject to shareholder approval and the okay from European regulators. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007. Huntsman ended at 24.31, and was the top percentage gainer.