Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, March 14th.
According to Zacks, “Westlake Chemical Corporation is a vertically integrated international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products. The company’s range of products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, vinyl intermediates, PVC, PVC Pipe, PVC windows, fence and decking components. “
Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on WLK. Deutsche Bank upped their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $115.00 to $124.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 22nd. Alembic Global Advisors reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Friday, November 24th. ValuEngine lowered Westlake Chemical from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $102.00 price target (up previously from $93.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Finally, UBS reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $87.00 price target (up previously from $80.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Wednesday, February 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $111.43.
Shares of Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) traded up $2.87 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $117.75. 309,256 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 770,051. The company has a market cap of $14,809.51, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.75, a PEG ratio of 1.16 and a beta of 1.59. The company has a quick ratio of 1.30, a current ratio of 1.76 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58. Westlake Chemical has a fifty-two week low of $59.58 and a fifty-two week high of $121.30.
Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 20th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.62 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.69 by ($0.07). Westlake Chemical had a return on equity of 16.48% and a net margin of 16.22%. The firm had revenue of $2.01 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.06 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.87 earnings per share. Westlake Chemical’s revenue was up 15.9% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Westlake Chemical will post 8.07 EPS for the current year.
In other news, SVP Andrew Kenner sold 24,318 shares of Westlake Chemical stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.61, for a total transaction of $2,689,813.98. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 20,005 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,212,753.05. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CAO L. Benjamin Ederington sold 6,942 shares of Westlake Chemical stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $111.45, for a total value of $773,685.90. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 13,111 shares in the company, valued at $1,461,220.95. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 103,080 shares of company stock worth $11,545,548 over the last three months. Insiders own 72.50% of the company’s stock.
Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. ARP Americas LP bought a new stake in Westlake Chemical in the 4th quarter worth approximately $2,408,000. Systematic Financial Management LP bought a new position in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $1,238,000. James Investment Research Inc. increased its position in shares of Westlake Chemical by 6.6% during the 4th quarter. James Investment Research Inc. now owns 163,634 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $17,432,000 after purchasing an additional 10,074 shares during the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System increased its position in shares of Westlake Chemical by 8.4% during the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 125,099 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $13,327,000 after purchasing an additional 9,715 shares during the last quarter. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Westlake Chemical by 252.9% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 592,581 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $49,509,000 after purchasing an additional 424,655 shares during the last quarter. 30.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Westlake Chemical
Westlake Chemical Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and building products. The Company’s products include a range of chemicals, which are fundamental to various consumer and industrial markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive products, coatings, water treatment, refrigerants, residential and commercial construction, as well as other durable and non-durable goods.
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