Westlake (NYSE:WLK) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Westlake (NYSE:WLKGet Rating) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have a $137.00 target price on the specialty chemicals company’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 4.16% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for Westlake for the second quarter have been increasing over the past month. The company is expected to benefit from synergies of acquisitions. The Axiall buyout has diversified its product portfolio and geographical operations. The NAKAN acquisition has also allowed the company to boost its compounding business globally. Further, the company is seeing favorable demand trends for polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Also, rising housing starts in the United States augur well for its downstream business and domestic demand for PVC. The company should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects. Its strong liquidity position should also allow it to meet its debt obligations. However, it faces headwinds from higher feedstock costs. Its operations are also exposed to maintenance outages. “

Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft lifted their target price on Westlake from $135.00 to $148.00 in a report on Monday, May 16th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their target price on Westlake from $128.00 to $155.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 5th. Citigroup lifted their target price on Westlake from $125.00 to $131.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 25th. Wells Fargo & Company lifted their target price on Westlake from $150.00 to $162.00 in a report on Wednesday, May 4th. Finally, Barclays boosted their price objective on Westlake from $135.00 to $150.00 in a report on Monday, May 9th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $135.38.

Westlake stock traded up $0.80 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $131.53. The stock had a trading volume of 10,590 shares, compared to its average volume of 749,601. Westlake has a 12 month low of $78.06 and a 12 month high of $141.19. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $127.45 and its 200 day moving average price is $112.17. The firm has a market capitalization of $16.88 billion, a PE ratio of 6.71, a P/E/G ratio of 0.19 and a beta of 1.18. The company has a quick ratio of 1.38, a current ratio of 2.12 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53.

Westlake (NYSE:WLKGet Rating) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 3rd. The specialty chemicals company reported $5.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $4.70 by $1.13. Westlake had a return on equity of 30.67% and a net margin of 18.76%. The business had revenue of $4.06 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.46 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.87 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 72.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities research analysts expect that Westlake will post 21.79 EPS for the current year.

In related news, EVP Robert F. Buesinger sold 2,730 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $115.55, for a total transaction of $315,451.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CAO L. Benjamin Ederington sold 12,569 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $139.81, for a total value of $1,757,271.89. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 37,418 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,231,410.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 110,344 shares of company stock valued at $14,315,810 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 73.80% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in WLK. Worth Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Westlake in the first quarter worth $28,000. Allworth Financial LP purchased a new stake in Westlake in the first quarter worth $27,000. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in Westlake in the first quarter worth $36,000. Signaturefd LLC grew its stake in Westlake by 113.4% in the first quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 303 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock worth $37,000 after purchasing an additional 161 shares during the period. Finally, National Bank of Canada FI purchased a new stake in Westlake in the fourth quarter worth $29,000.

Westlake Company Profile (Get Rating)

Westlake Corporation manufactures and supplies petrochemicals, polymers, and building products worldwide. It operates through two segments, Performance and Essential Materials; and Housing and Infrastructure Products. The Performance and Essential Materials segment manufactures and markets polyethylene, styrene monomer, ethylene co-products, PVC, VCM, ethylene dichloride chlor-alkali, and chlorinated derivative products.

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