Dow Chemical Concocts a Stable Formula

The chemical giant pursues a business mix designed to produce steady earnings through partnerships.

Dow Chemical has been a lot more willing to partner with other companies lately. Why? Rising commodity costs.

The Midland, Mich.-based company says the cost of feedstock -- the materials used to make its chemicals -- soared 31% in the fourth quarter of 2007 from the same period a year ago. The $1.7-billion increase, according to Dow, is the largest year-over-year spike in energy and feedstock costs in company history.

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Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance