Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) released its third-quarter results for 2012, and they just didn't stack up to those of the same time last year. Sales were down 10% and the bottom line earnings were down 39%. To counter this, DuPont (NYSE:DD) had year-over-year sales drop by 9%, and earnings plummeted from $452 million in 2011's third quarter to $10 million this year. So why was Dow up 4.66% on the day while DuPont dropped over 9% yesterday?

Well, they both announced large cost savings initiatives through labor cuts and plans to take the scalpel to operational expenses. Becoming leaner and driving toward productivity and growth were initiatives of both C-suites. It appears that Dow is driving a much harder line though. Its plan involves cutting 2,400 jobs, or 5% of its total workforce versus, while DuPont has plans to cut 2% of its employees. Dow also has some key strategic plans involving a joint venture with Saudi Aramaco and ethylene production along the Gulf Coast that will be insulated form these planned cuts.

Both of these companies are well-diversified and see positive signs on the horizon. For the short term, however, Dow seems to be on the right side of the trading aisle.Take a look at the video below for a better comparison between the two and some commentary on two other companies looking to profit from low-cost ethylene production in the United States.

Joel South has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Taylor Muckerman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.