Shares of several chemical manufacturers fell Thursday after two companies in the sector reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts' expectations.
Huntsman Corp.'s net income totaled $114 million, or 47 cents a share, in the April-to-June quarter. Excluding one-time items, net income was $177 million, or 48 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of 49 cents per share.
And Kronos Worldwide Inc. said it earned $89 million, or 77 cents per share. That company also missed Wall Street estimates by a penny.
The disappointing results came in an atmosphere of uncertainty about future demand for a wide variety of products that are made with chemicals. Recent reports have said that factory orders fell in June, that the service industry grew in July at the slowest rate in 17 months and that consumer spending fell in June for the first time in nearly two years.
In Europe, there are concerns that Italy and Spain may need help from the European Union to repay debts, adding to the region's financial problems.
In afternoon trading, shares of Huntsman Corp. fell $4.24, or 23.6 percent, to $13.75 and Kronos Worldwide dropped $2.32, or 8.7 percent, to $24.51.
Shares of Dow Chemical Co. lost $2.23, or 6.6 percent, at $31.54, DuPont Chemical Co. fell $1.92, or 3.8 percent, to $48.58 and Gibraltar Industries Inc. dropped 62 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $9.54.