Equities research analysts predict that Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) will report earnings of $1.66 per share for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Four analysts have issued estimates for Westlake Chemical’s earnings, with the highest EPS estimate coming in at $1.89 and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.44. Westlake Chemical posted earnings per share of $0.87 during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 90.8%. The company is scheduled to announce its next quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Westlake Chemical will report full year earnings of $5.52 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.37 to $5.74. For the next financial year, analysts anticipate that the business will post earnings of $6.72 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.19 to $7.43. Zacks’ earnings per share averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that follow Westlake Chemical.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on WLK shares. Johnson Rice started coverage on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research report on Monday, November 6th. They issued an “accumulate” rating and a $100.00 price objective on the stock. ValuEngine raised shares of Westlake Chemical from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $93.00 price target on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. Citigroup assumed coverage on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $97.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Nomura raised shares of Westlake Chemical from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $98.00 target price on the stock in a report on Tuesday, September 26th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $101.15.

In other Westlake Chemical news, CEO Albert Chao sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.34, for a total transaction of $2,358,500.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 299,018 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $28,209,358.12. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Robert F. Buesinger sold 2,674 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $98.50, for a total transaction of $263,389.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 6,635 shares in the company, valued at $653,547.50. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 293,122 shares of company stock valued at $27,721,443 in the last 90 days. 72.50% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new stake in Westlake Chemical in the third quarter worth approximately $326,000. Tortoise Capital Advisors L.L.C. raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical by 6,376.2% in the third quarter. Tortoise Capital Advisors L.L.C. now owns 1,360 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $113,000 after purchasing an additional 1,339 shares in the last quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical by 1.6% in the third quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 115,384 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $9,587,000 after purchasing an additional 1,784 shares in the last quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 2,024.0% during the third quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 4,779 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $397,000 after acquiring an additional 4,554 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Highbridge Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 60.7% during the third quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC now owns 198,511 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $16,494,000 after acquiring an additional 75,000 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 30.41% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Westlake Chemical (NYSE WLK) traded up $2.56 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $109.09. 461,400 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 465,000. The firm has a market capitalization of $13,900.00, a PE ratio of 23.66, a P/E/G ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 1.72. The company has a current ratio of 2.31, a quick ratio of 1.59 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74. Westlake Chemical has a 12-month low of $56.35 and a 12-month high of $109.10.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, December 11th. Shareholders of record on Monday, November 27th were paid a dividend of $0.21 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, November 24th. This represents a $0.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.77%. Westlake Chemical’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 18.22%.

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Westlake Chemical Company Profile

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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