BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) by 7.5% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 1,555,400 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock after acquiring an additional 108,434 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. owned about 1.20% of Westlake Chemical worth $165,696,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in shares of Westlake Chemical by 14.9% during the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 1,074,502 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $114,466,000 after purchasing an additional 139,565 shares in the last quarter. Royce & Associates LP boosted its stake in shares of Westlake Chemical by 1.1% during the third quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 748,884 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $62,225,000 after purchasing an additional 8,184 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Westlake Chemical by 6.5% during the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 708,449 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $58,874,000 after purchasing an additional 43,282 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in shares of Westlake Chemical by 252.9% during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 592,581 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $49,509,000 after purchasing an additional 424,655 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Westlake Chemical by 95.2% during the fourth quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 374,624 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $39,719,000 after purchasing an additional 182,734 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 30.28% of the company’s stock.
In related news, SVP George J. Mangieri sold 4,335 shares of Westlake Chemical stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $111.22, for a total value of $482,138.70. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 5,810 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $646,188.20. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Andrew Kenner sold 6,028 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $120.00, for a total value of $723,360.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 17,465 shares in the company, valued at $2,095,800. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders sold 103,080 shares of company stock worth $11,545,548. 72.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 20th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.62 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.69 by ($0.07). The company had revenue of $2.01 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.06 billion. Westlake Chemical had a return on equity of 16.48% and a net margin of 16.22%. Westlake Chemical’s revenue was up 15.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.87 earnings per share. analysts predict that Westlake Chemical Co. will post 8.07 EPS for the current year.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, March 13th. Investors of record on Tuesday, February 27th were paid a $0.21 dividend. This represents a $0.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.73%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, February 26th. Westlake Chemical’s dividend payout ratio is currently 8.41%.
WLK has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Deutsche Bank reissued a “buy” rating and set a $115.00 price target on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on Westlake Chemical in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $120.00 price target on the stock. Wells Fargo reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $122.00 price target (up from $112.00) on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Wednesday, January 17th. Alembic Global Advisors reissued a “buy” rating and set a $110.00 price target on shares of Westlake Chemical in a research note on Wednesday, December 20th. Finally, SunTrust Banks lifted their price target on Westlake Chemical from $102.00 to $113.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, December 19th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $111.43.
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About Westlake Chemical
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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