Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) Reaches New 1-Year High After Better-Than-Expected Earnings


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Shares of Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) reached a new 52-week high on Tuesday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The stock traded as high as $98.16 and last traded at $97.91, with a volume of 728454 shares. The stock had previously closed at $94.79.

The specialty chemicals company reported $1.87 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.56 by $0.31. Westlake Chemical had a return on equity of 4.74% and a net margin of 5.14%. The business had revenue of $2.36 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.05 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.13 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 22.0% on a year-over-year basis.

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

A number of equities research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. KeyCorp raised Westlake Chemical from a “sector weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $124.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday, April 19th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Westlake Chemical from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $99.00 target price for the company. in a report on Monday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lifted their target price on Westlake Chemical from $92.00 to $98.00 in a report on Monday, March 8th. TheStreet upgraded Westlake Chemical from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 23rd. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price target on Westlake Chemical from $87.00 to $95.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 14th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $83.56.

In other news, EVP Robert F. Buesinger sold 16,513 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $93.69, for a total transaction of $1,547,102.97. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 21,951 shares in the company, valued at $2,056,589.19. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Mark Steven Bender sold 15,740 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $94.70, for a total value of $1,490,578.00. Following the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 42,120 shares in the company, valued at $3,988,764. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 92,519 shares of company stock worth $8,415,449. Company insiders own 73.10% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 49.4% during the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 28,972 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $2,572,000 after purchasing an additional 9,577 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 1.3% during the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,104,878 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $275,682,000 after purchasing an additional 38,433 shares during the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL grew its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 174.3% during the first quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 79,000 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $7,014,000 after purchasing an additional 50,200 shares during the last quarter. IFP Advisors Inc bought a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical during the first quarter worth about $44,000. Finally, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Westlake Chemical in the first quarter worth approximately $821,000. Institutional investors own 28.19% of the company’s stock.

The stock has a 50 day moving average of $91.93 and a 200 day moving average of $83.72. The company has a quick ratio of 2.09, a current ratio of 2.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58. The company has a market capitalization of $12.55 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.42, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 38.49 and a beta of 1.62.

About Westlake Chemical (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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