LSB tops list; Mechel drops as Russia attacks Ukraine

LSB tops list; Mechel drops as Russia attacks Ukraine

D. Lentz/iStock via Getty Images

The S&P 500 Materials sector closed this trading week in the red at -0.24%, while the Materials Select Sector SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLB) was up +0.11%.

Industrial metals surged across the board this week in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with aluminum prices (LMAHDS03:COM) hitting a record high of $3,450/ton and nickel (LN1:COM) jumping to a decade-high $25K/ton on the London Metal Exchange.

Russia is the world’s second largest exporter of aluminum, and the war in Ukraine threatens supplies that are already stretched thin by strong demand and shrinking inventories. Recent sanctions have excluded Russia’s energy and aluminum sectors so far. However, subsequent sanctions could feed high energy prices which would raise production costs for aluminum and other base metals.

The Ukraine crisis also triggered a jump in gold futures to their highest levels since early 2021 and on track for their biggest daily rally in about two years. April Comex gold (XAUUSD:CUR) crossed the $1,970/oz mark, the highest for a most-active contract settlement since January 2021, while March silver (XAGUSD:CUR) touched $25.50/oz.

Take a look at this week’s top gainers and losers among basic material stocks ($300M market cap or more):

LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU) +31.51%; Shares have surged after an easy Q4 earnings beat, with the company saying it expects demand for agricultural products will “remain robust in 2022 after a very strong 2021.”

Benson Hill (NYSE:BHIL) +17.83%; The firm’s preliminarily 2021 results suggest better-than expected consolidated revenues that also exceed its prior guidance.

Olympic Steel (NASDAQ:ZEUS) +14.18%; Olympic Steel posted Q4 earnings and revenues that beat estimates, marking 2021 as the “most profitable year” for the company.

Rayonier Advanced Materials (NYSE:RYAM) +12.00%; Rayonier missed Q4 estimates, but revenue for FY21 grew 5% to just over $1.4B. The firm also reduced debt by over $155M and grew cash balances by nearly $160M.

Mp Materials (NYSE:MP) +11.63%; MP too posted a Q4 earnings beat, and more than doubled revenues from the year-earlier quarter.

Mechel PAO (NYSE:MTL) -39.02%; The Russian mining and metals leader appears to have been impacted by the war in Ukraine.

New Gold (NYSE:NGD) -15.00%; Shares have declined despite reporting Q4 earnings which indicated the strongest production quarter of the year, and lowest quarter from a cost perspective.

Orion Engineered Carbons (NYSE:OEC) -12.83%; Earlier this week the firm announced plans to raise prices for all specialty carbon black products owing to rising raw material, operations and supply chain costs.

Neenah (NYSE:NP) -11.87%

Bioceres Crop Solutions (NASDAQ:BIOX) -11.72%

Other materials ETFs to watch: iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF (NASDAQ:WOOD), Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF, Vanguard Materials ETF (NYSEARCA:VAW), iShares Global Materials ETF (NYSEARCA:MXI), SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (NYSEARCA:XME), VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX), iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (NASDAQ:RING), Global X Copper Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:COPX).

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