Zacks Investment Research reiterated their sell rating on shares of Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) in a research note issued to investors on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Earnings estimates for Westlake Chemical have been going down of late. The company 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. Westlake Chemical has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past six months.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. SunTrust Banks restated a positive rating and issued a $81.00 price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical in a report on Thursday, November 15th. BMO Capital Markets set a $94.00 price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Thursday, November 8th. Alembic Global Advisors set a $135.00 price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Tuesday, November 6th. Nomura lowered their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $100.00 to $92.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a report on Monday, October 15th. Finally, Barclays assumed coverage on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Monday, October 8th. They issued an overweight rating and a $100.00 target price on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $109.76.

Shares of Westlake Chemical stock opened at $67.50 on Friday. Westlake Chemical has a 1 year low of $66.91 and a 1 year high of $124.29. The company has a market cap of $9.27 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.34, a P/E/G ratio of 0.67 and a beta of 1.59. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a current ratio of 2.31 and a quick ratio of 1.59.

Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The specialty chemicals company reported $2.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $2.24 by $0.11. Westlake Chemical had a net margin of 19.36% and a return on equity of 19.75%. The business had revenue of $2.26 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.24 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.61 earnings per share. Westlake Chemical’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.9% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Westlake Chemical will post 8.6 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 11th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, November 27th will be given a dividend of $0.25 per share. This represents a $1.00 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.48%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 26th. Westlake Chemical’s payout ratio is currently 18.28%.

In other Westlake Chemical news, CEO Albert Chao sold 24,509 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.20, for a total transaction of $1,745,040.80. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 337,013 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $23,995,325.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 72.00% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. increased its position in Westlake Chemical by 2,645.6% during the 2nd quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 19,576 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $2,106,000 after purchasing an additional 18,863 shares during the period. Rhumbline Advisers increased its position in Westlake Chemical by 11.8% during the 2nd quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 39,219 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $4,221,000 after purchasing an additional 4,144 shares during the period. Advisors Asset Management Inc. increased its position in Westlake Chemical by 54.7% during the 2nd quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 34,503 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $3,714,000 after purchasing an additional 12,202 shares during the period. Royal London Asset Management Ltd. purchased a new position in Westlake Chemical during the 2nd quarter valued at $1,559,000. Finally, BlueMountain Capital Management LLC increased its position in Westlake Chemical by 112.5% during the 2nd quarter. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC now owns 96,139 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $10,347,000 after purchasing an additional 50,893 shares during the period. 30.43% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Westlake Chemical Company Profile

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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