Shares of Westlake Chemical Corp. (NYSE:WLK) saw unusually-strong trading volume on Wednesday . Approximately 1,846,705 shares traded hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 59% from the previous session’s volume of 1,163,132 shares.The stock last traded at $50.38 and had previously closed at $49.32.

Several equities research analysts recently commented on WLK shares. TheStreet upgraded Westlake Chemical Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 23rd. Vetr upgraded Westlake Chemical Corp. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $54.51 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, August 23rd. SunTrust Banks Inc. upgraded Westlake Chemical Corp. from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $44.00 to $52.00 in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Nomura set a $53.00 price target on Westlake Chemical Corp. and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, August 1st. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Westlake Chemical Corp. from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 4th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, seven have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $59.44.

The company has a market cap of $6.49 billion, a PE ratio of 12.57 and a beta of 2.04. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $49.90 and its 200-day moving average price is $46.65.

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Westlake Chemical Corp. (NYSE:WLK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.85 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.96 by $0.11. The company had revenue of $1.09 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.06 billion. Westlake Chemical Corp. had a return on equity of 15.42% and a net margin of 12.48%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 8.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.41 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Westlake Chemical Corp. will post $3.64 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, September 20th. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd were paid a dividend of $0.1906 per share. This is a boost from Westlake Chemical Corp.’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.51%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, August 31st. Westlake Chemical Corp.’s dividend payout ratio is 18.91%.

In related news, VP George J. Mangieri sold 30,714 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 23rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.00, for a total transaction of $1,597,128.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 54,609 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,839,668. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 71.70% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of WLK. Cubist Systematic Strategies LLC bought a new stake in shares of Westlake Chemical Corp. during the second quarter worth $167,000. Pacer Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical Corp. by 508.3% in the second quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 4,568 shares of the company’s stock worth $196,000 after buying an additional 3,817 shares during the period. Amalgamated Bank acquired a new stake in Westlake Chemical Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $224,000. Laurion Capital Management LP acquired a new stake in Westlake Chemical Corp. during the second quarter worth approximately $215,000. Finally, Cantab Capital Partners LLP boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical Corp. by 151.9% in the second quarter. Cantab Capital Partners LLP now owns 5,501 shares of the company’s stock worth $236,000 after buying an additional 3,317 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.29% of the company’s stock.

About Westlake Chemical Corp.

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a vertically integrated 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 diverse consumer and industrial markets, including flexible and rigid packaging, automotive products, coatings, residential and commercial construction, as well as other durable and non-durable goods.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:WLK

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