Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Saturday morning.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for Westlake Chemical for full-year 2018 have been going down lately. Westlake Chemical faces headwind from raw material cost inflation which may affect its margins. Its operations are exposed to planned turnarounds and unplanned outages. Some weaknesses in caustic soda prices are also expected in the fourth quarter. The company’s high balance sheet leverage is also a matter of concern.”

WLK has been the topic of a number of other reports. SunTrust Banks reiterated a positive rating and issued a $81.00 target price on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Thursday, November 15th. Bank of America upgraded Westlake Chemical from an underperform rating to a buy rating and set a $85.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Nomura cut their target price on Westlake Chemical from $100.00 to $92.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 15th. Cowen reiterated a market perform rating and issued a $75.00 target price (down from $100.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Tuesday, December 11th. Finally, Alembic Global Advisors set a $135.00 target price on Westlake Chemical and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, November 6th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $107.12.

Shares of WLK stock opened at $72.59 on Friday. Westlake Chemical has a 52 week low of $59.78 and a 52 week high of $124.29. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 2.31 and a quick ratio of 1.59. The company has a market cap of $9.70 billion, a PE ratio of 13.24, a P/E/G ratio of 0.69 and a beta of 1.47.

Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The specialty chemicals company reported $2.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.24 by $0.11. Westlake Chemical had a return on equity of 19.75% and a net margin of 19.36%. The company had revenue of $2.26 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.24 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.61 EPS. Westlake Chemical’s quarterly revenue was up 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Westlake Chemical will post 8.52 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Westlake Chemical news, CEO Albert Chao sold 24,509 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $71.20, for a total transaction of $1,745,040.80. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 337,013 shares in the company, valued at approximately $23,995,325.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 72.00% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 2nd quarter valued at $130,000. One Wealth Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 3rd quarter valued at $160,000. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 4th quarter valued at $163,000. Twin Tree Management LP purchased a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 3rd quarter valued at $181,000. Finally, Korea Investment CORP purchased a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the 2nd quarter valued at $194,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 29.54% of the company’s stock.

About Westlake Chemical

Westlake Chemical Corporation manufactures and markets basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers, and building products primarily in North America and Europe. It operates through two segments, Olefins and Vinyls. The Olefins segment offers polyethylene, styrene monomers, and various ethylene co-products, as well as sells propylene, crude butadiene, pyrolysis gasoline, and hydrogen products.

Further Reading: Debt-To-Equity Ratio

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Westlake Chemical (WLK)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK)

Receive News & Ratings for Westlake Chemical Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Westlake Chemical and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.