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Dow Chemical has spent the last year trading sideways, and Jim Cramer thinks it's ready to take off again. This massive chemical company took the time last year to streamline its assets and sell its non-core businesses.
Was that the right move? It appears it was, as this year it is up almost 9 percent.
Dow reported at the end of January and delivered a 16 cent earnings beat from a 69 cent basis and strong performance in Europe. It even affirmed full year guidance for 2015 and forecast strong volume growth for the year.
And that's not even mentioning its $20 billion joint venture with Saudi Aramco that will build a huge chemical complex and could take the stock even higher.
And while the stock is $5 from its 52-week high, Cramer thinks it is still a bargain. To make sure, he sat down with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris.
The CEO commented on the significant change that Dow has made in the past 10 years. A decade ago, two-thirds of its portfolio was driven by petrochemical and it was a one-product company.
"People who bought our stock rented our stock. They followed us on the way up and got out of us on the way down. Today, we are a consistent earner, with two-thirds of the portfolio based on technology and going into all sorts of different markets," Liveris said.
Since that time, Dow has chosen to separate itself from the impact of the price of oil.
"We have decoupled it, and there are two positives now: this is the type of oil price that you want. It is actually going to stimulate the economy. We have healthy demand…every operating rate point increase that I get on my machine, I make $200 million more on the bottom line," Liveris added.
The CEO also commented on the impact oil and gas independence could have on strengthening the U.S. economy.
"What I am seeing here in the United States is the prospect of time with energy independence and oil independence. There may be a case coming in the future where oil price in the United States is lower than the worldwide price. Imagine the advantage of the U.S. economy if you have both gas and oil lower than the world price," he said.
In the past five years, Dow Chemical has hired 20,000 new employees with 12,000 of them in the United States. The company has specialized in hiring individuals in high-tech and highly advanced jobs.
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Clearly, Dow Chemical is not concerned with the strength of the U.S. economy with such low oil prices.
"I think a low oil price means a healthy economy," he said.