Westlake Chemical (WLK) – Investment Analysts’ Recent Ratings Changes

A number of research firms have changed their ratings and price targets for Westlake Chemical (NYSE: WLK):

  • 9/7/2018 – Westlake Chemical was downgraded by analysts at Cowen Inc from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating. They now have a $100.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $120.00.
  • 9/4/2018 – Westlake Chemical was downgraded by analysts at ValuEngine from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating.
  • 9/4/2018 – Westlake Chemical had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at med. They now have a $135.00 price target on the stock.
  • 8/29/2018 – Westlake Chemical had its price target lowered by analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. from $120.00 to $105.00. They now have a “neutral” rating on the stock.
  • 8/27/2018 – Westlake Chemical was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Westlake Chemical’s adjusted earnings for the second quarter of 2018 missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while sales topped the same. Westlake Chemical has outperformed the industry it belongs to over a year. The company is benefiting from synergies of Axiall acquisition and strong demand for its major products. It should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects. However, Westlake Chemical faces headwind from raw material cost inflation which may affect its margins. Its operations are exposed to planned turnarounds and unplanned outages. The company’s high balance sheet leverage is also a matter of concern.”
  • 8/21/2018 – Westlake Chemical was upgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Westlake Chemical’s profits surged year over year in second-quarter 2018. Adjusted earnings for the quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while sales topped the same. The company is benefiting from the synergies of Axiall acquisition and strong demand for its major products. The company remains on track to realize significant synergies and cost savings related to the Axiall acquisition. Increased demand for major products across both Vinyls and Olefins segments is also driving its revenues. Westlake Chemical should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects. It has also outperformed the industry it belongs to over the past year. However, the company faces headwind from raw material cost inflation which may affect its margins.  Its operations are exposed to planned turnarounds and unplanned outages.”
  • 8/6/2018 – Westlake Chemical had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada. They now have a $108.00 price target on the stock.
  • 8/3/2018 – Westlake Chemical had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by analysts at BMO Capital Markets. They now have a $111.00 price target on the stock.
  • 8/2/2018 – Westlake Chemical had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at med. They now have a $140.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “We peg recurring EPS at USD2.22 – a miss relative to the consensus estimate of USD2.50. Q2 reported EBITDA of USD568m also missed consensus, which was USD623m. Quarter-over-quarter, Olefins segment volumes declined 2.2%, while Vinyl segment volumes rose 3.1%. Westlake’s press release stated that, though the company had planned turnarounds in Vinyls segments, the Vinyls segment also experienced unplanned turnarounds. The press release did not break-out the EBITDA impact from the Vinyls segment’s planned and unplanned outages. We will seek clarity around the earnings impact of these turnarounds on the conference call, but believe the shortfall, relative to consensus, may have resulted from these outages. Olefins segment pricing declined 1.9% q-o-q, while Vinyls segment pricing rose 3.1%.””
  • 7/18/2018 – Westlake Chemical was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating. According to Zacks, “Westlake Chemical has outperformed the industry it belongs to over a year. It is benefiting from synergies of Axiall acquisition and strong demand for its major products. The company remains on track to realize significant synergies and cost savings related to the Axiall acquisition. Increased demand for major products across both Vinyls and Olefins segments is also driving its revenues. Westlake Chemical should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects. However, the company faces headwind from raw material cost inflation which may affect its margins.  Its operations are exposed to planned turnarounds and unplanned outages.”

WLK opened at $86.01 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 2.27, a quick ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46. The firm has a market cap of $11.24 billion, a P/E ratio of 15.72, a P/E/G ratio of 0.75 and a beta of 1.49. Westlake Chemical Co. has a 52 week low of $78.62 and a 52 week high of $124.29.

Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 2nd. The specialty chemicals company reported $2.22 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.52 by ($0.30). The company had revenue of $2.24 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.19 billion. Westlake Chemical had a net margin of 18.55% and a return on equity of 19.44%. The firm’s revenue was up 12.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.21 EPS. equities analysts predict that Westlake Chemical Co. will post 8.87 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 12th. Investors of record on Tuesday, August 28th were paid a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date was Monday, August 27th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.16%. This is a positive change from Westlake Chemical’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.21. Westlake Chemical’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 18.28%.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. FMR LLC boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical by 21.2% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 7,372,944 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $793,550,000 after buying an additional 1,291,053 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical by 26.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,933,430 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $208,094,000 after buying an additional 398,951 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,130,411 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $121,660,000 after buying an additional 3,499 shares during the last quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical by 2,586.0% in the 2nd quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 599,012 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $3,714,000 after buying an additional 576,711 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada boosted its stake in Westlake Chemical by 18.2% in the 1st quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 489,915 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $54,455,000 after buying an additional 75,530 shares during the last quarter. 31.07% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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.

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