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Why Huntsman Corporation's Shares Plunged 25% Today

By Travis Hoium - Sep 28, 2015 at 11:11AM

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An earnings warning has investors on edge today.

What: Shares of chemical company Huntsman Corporation (HUN 0.92%) plunged 25% in early trading following an earnings warning from management.

So what: After the market closed on Friday, management said there were "certain trends which are expected to impact third-quarter earnings." Not surprisingly, they're almost all negative.  

Management pointed to lower titanium dioxide pricing, currency headwinds, soft demand in Asia-Pacific, lower oil prices, and a delay in lower raw-material benefits as negatives for the company. They are staying the course strategically and think cost savings initiatives will start paying off next year with a $300 million improvement in cash flow.

Now what: The press release was a little cryptic on exactly how big an impact these headwinds would have in the third quarter, only saying that the company expects third and fourth quarter EBITDA to be in a similar range to the prior year at about $300 million.

I'm not concerned about a single quarter's miss because that can present a buying opportunity in a company that's still generating a lot of cash. My concern is that operations will continue to worsen, particularly if demand in Asia-Pacific doesn't return as quickly as the market might think. I'm cautiously optimistic on Huntsman's value right now, but I want to hear more detail from management after the third quarter conference call before calling this a great buy for investors. There's simply too much potential danger ahead.

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