Shares of Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) have been given an average recommendation of “Hold” by the nineteen brokerages that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 12-month target price among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $99.40.
Several research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Cascend Securities assumed coverage on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research report on Friday, April 5th. They set a “buy” rating and a $94.00 price target for the company. Bank of America upgraded shares of Westlake Chemical from an “underperform” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 price objective for the company in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Westlake Chemical from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Saturday, January 12th. Susquehanna Bancshares reiterated a “neutral” rating and issued a $75.00 price objective (down previously from $88.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Tuesday, February 26th. Finally, Barclays cut their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $90.00 to $82.00 and set an “overweight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, March 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call.
Shares of WLK traded down $0.27 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $74.66. 907,800 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 976,290. Westlake Chemical has a 1-year low of $59.78 and a 1-year high of $124.29. The company has a quick ratio of 1.55, a current ratio of 2.40 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. The company has a market cap of $9.65 billion, a PE ratio of 9.56, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.87 and a beta of 1.44.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, March 13th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 27th were issued a dividend of $0.25 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Tuesday, February 26th. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.34%. Westlake Chemical’s dividend payout ratio is currently 12.80%.
In other Westlake Chemical news, Director H John Riley, Jr. sold 3,327 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $69.92, for a total value of $232,623.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 22,652 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,583,827.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. 72.00% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of WLK. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in Westlake Chemical during the 4th quarter worth $32,294,000. Millennium Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 102.6% in the fourth quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 834,024 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $55,187,000 after acquiring an additional 422,380 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 223.3% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 544,346 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $45,240,000 after acquiring an additional 375,952 shares in the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 20.0% in the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 1,853,189 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $154,018,000 after acquiring an additional 308,887 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nuveen Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Westlake Chemical by 129.9% in the fourth quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 429,443 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $28,416,000 after acquiring an additional 242,654 shares in the last quarter. 28.00% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
About Westlake Chemical
Westlake Chemical Corporation manufactures and markets basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers, and building products worldwide. 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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