Markets & Finance

JP Morgan Ups Opinion on Lyondell Chemical

JP Morgan raised its investment recommendation on Lyondell Chemical (LYO) to neutral from underweight.

Analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas said Lyondell Chemical has improved near term earnings per share prospects. He raised his $2.25 2005 earnings per share estimate to $3.30 due to sharply higher Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), refining margins, and likely better fourth quarter petrochemical performance; he upped his $3.00 2006 estimate to $3.35 on the belief that the first half of 2006 will see a continuation of strong MTBE and refinery trends. The analyst noted profits in the MTBE stratospheric due to closures of capacity that tightened up the supply/demand balance, and high gasoline prices that lifted the value of MTBE as a blending component. The analyst sees monthly hikes in ethylene and polyethylene selling prices from September to October.

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