Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) Hits New 12-Month High Following Better-Than-Expected Earnings


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Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK)’s stock price reached a new 52-week high during trading on Tuesday following a better than expected earnings announcement. The company traded as high as $98.16 and last traded at $97.91, with a volume of 728454 shares changing hands. The stock had previously closed at $94.79.

The specialty chemicals company reported $1.87 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.31. The company had revenue of $2.36 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.05 billion. Westlake Chemical had a net margin of 5.14% and a return on equity of 4.74%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 22.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.13 earnings per share.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 2nd were given a $0.27 dividend. This represents a $1.08 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 1st. Westlake Chemical’s dividend payout ratio is 33.13%.

Several analysts have commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Westlake Chemical from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $99.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday. Wells Fargo & Company upped their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $104.00 to $114.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday, April 1st. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $102.00 price objective (down from $104.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Monday, March 22nd. TheStreet raised shares of Westlake Chemical from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $87.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 14th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $83.56.

In other news, EVP Robert F. Buesinger sold 16,513 shares of the stock in a transaction on Monday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $93.69, for a total value of $1,547,102.97. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 21,951 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,056,589.19. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CAO Johnathan Stevan Zoeller sold 1,006 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, February 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $86.94, for a total transaction of $87,461.64. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 1,006 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $87,461.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 92,519 shares of company stock valued at $8,415,449. Corporate insiders own 73.10% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WLK. Valeo Financial Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 4th quarter worth about $41,000. IFP Advisors Inc acquired a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 1st quarter worth about $44,000. Meeder Asset Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Westlake Chemical by 3,154.4% during the 1st quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,855 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $166,000 after purchasing an additional 1,798 shares in the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 4th quarter worth about $204,000. Finally, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company acquired a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 4th quarter worth about $214,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 28.19% of the company’s stock.

The firm has a market cap of $12.55 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.84, a PEG ratio of 38.49 and a beta of 1.62. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 2.09 and a current ratio of 2.85. The business’s 50-day moving average is $91.93 and its 200-day moving average is $83.59.

Westlake Chemical Company Profile (NYSE:WLK)

Westlake Chemical Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers, and building products worldwide. It operates through two segments, Vinyls and Olefins. The Vinyls segment provides specialty and commodity polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl chloride monomers, ethylene dichloride, chlorine, caustic soda, chlorinated derivative, and ethylene products.

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