HomeMost PopularInvestingWhy You Should Retain Huntsman (HUN) Stock in Your Portfolio

Why You Should Retain Huntsman (HUN) Stock in Your Portfolio

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Huntsman Corporation HUN is poised to benefit from its investment in downstream businesses and differentiated product innovation as well as strategic acquisitions amid headwinds from soft demand in certain markets and pricing pressure.

The companyโ€™s shares are up 1.5% over the past year compared with a 6% rise of its industry.

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Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

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Letโ€™s find out why this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is worth retaining at the moment.

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Downstream Expansion & Cost Synergies Aid HUN

Huntsman remains focused on growing its downstream specialty and formulation businesses and is shifting its MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) business from components to differentiated systems that typically have higher margins and lower volatility.

The companyโ€™s Polyurethanes segment is well positioned for strong upside in the long term on the back of its focus on ramping up its high-value differentiated downstream portfolio. The substitution of MDI for less effective materials will remain a key driving factor for the MDI business.
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Huntsman should also gain from significant synergies of acquisitions. Its strong liquidity and balance sheet leverage give it adequate flexibility to continue to develop and expand its core businesses through acquisitions and internal investments. The acquisitions of CVC Thermoset and Gabriel Performance Products are contributing to EBITDA in the Advanced Materials segment.

The company remains committed to its cost realignment and synergy objectives. It realized more than $280 million in run rate savings at the end of 2023. It sees additional cost-improvement opportunities in 2024 with a focus on manufacturing cost efficiency and the completion of European restructuring activities. It expects roughly $60 million of in-year cost optimization benefits, excluding inflation, in 2024.

Weak Pricing, Soft Demand Ail

The company faced challenges from demand softness and significant de-stocking in 2023. Demand conditions in Europe weakened last year due to high levels of natural gas prices. Demand in China was impacted by reduced economic growth resulting from the pandemic-led restrictions and lower construction activities.

While demand conditions have improved of late in these regions as witnessed in first-quarter 2024, the lingering impacts of sluggish demand in certain markets are likely to continue in the near term. The residential construction market remains sluggish in China. Weaker activities in general industrial, infrastructure coatings and commodity markets are also expected to continue to impact volumes in HUNโ€™s Advanced Materials segment.

Huntsman is also exposed to headwinds from pricing pressure. Lower selling prices across its segments weighed on its top line in the first quarter. A less favorable supply-demand environment contributed to the fall in MDI prices. Competitive pricing is also affecting the Performance Products segment. Weaker prices are likely to continue to impact HUNโ€™s results in the second quarter.

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Huntsman Corporation Price and Consensus

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Huntsman Corporation Price and Consensus

Huntsman Corporation price-consensus-chart | Huntsman Corporation Quote

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Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. AXTA, Carpenter Technology Corporation (CRS) and ATI Inc. ATI.

Carpenter Technology currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). CRS beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters while matching it once, with the average earnings surprise being 15.1%. The companyโ€™s shares have soared roughly 150% in the past year. You can see the complete list of todayโ€™s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Axalta Coating Systems, carrying a Zacks Rank #1, has a projected earnings growth rate of 26.8% for the current year. In the past 60 days, the consensus estimate for AXTAโ€™s current-year earnings has been revised upward by 5.9%. The companyโ€™s shares have gained roughly 16% in the past year.

ATI currently carries a Zacks Rank #1. ATI beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters, with the average earnings surprise being 8.3%. The companyโ€™s shares have rallied around 77% in the past year.

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This company targets millennial and Gen Z audiences, generating nearly $1 billion in revenue last quarter alone. A recent pullback makes now an ideal time to jump aboard. Of course, all our elite picks arenโ€™t winners but this one could far surpass earlier Zacksโ€™ Stocks Set to Double like Nano-X Imaging which shot up +129.6% in little more than 9 months.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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