Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) Short Interest Update

Westlake Chemical Co. (NYSE:WLK) was the recipient of a significant decrease in short interest in the month of December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 1,820,000 shares, a decrease of 10.3% from the December 15th total of 2,030,000 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 487,600 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 3.7 days. Approximately 5.2% of the company’s shares are sold short.

In related news, CAO George J. Mangieri sold 1,583 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.05, for a total value of $118,804.15. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now owns 1,582 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $118,729.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 72.60% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. acquired a new stake in Westlake Chemical in the second quarter valued at approximately $25,000. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc acquired a new stake in Westlake Chemical in the second quarter valued at approximately $28,000. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical by 219.3% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,916 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $133,000 after acquiring an additional 1,316 shares in the last quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical by 379.9% in the third quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 2,625 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $172,000 after acquiring an additional 2,078 shares in the last quarter. Finally, First Mercantile Trust Co. raised its holdings in Westlake Chemical by 31.8% in the third quarter. First Mercantile Trust Co. now owns 2,849 shares of the specialty chemicals company’s stock valued at $186,000 after acquiring an additional 687 shares in the last quarter. 30.50% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on WLK. Barclays dropped their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $71.00 to $65.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a report on Thursday, October 3rd. ValuEngine raised shares of Westlake Chemical from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 8th. Tudor Pickering lowered shares of Westlake Chemical from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, November 1st. Bank of America upped their price objective on shares of Westlake Chemical from $65.00 to $66.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a report on Friday, December 20th. Finally, Nomura decreased their target price on shares of Westlake Chemical from $53.00 to $51.00 and set a “reduce” rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, September 18th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $70.72.

Shares of WLK traded up $1.30 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $70.22. 536,995 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 419,267. The company has a market cap of $8.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.99, a P/E/G ratio of 2.53 and a beta of 1.68. Westlake Chemical has a fifty-two week low of $55.82 and a fifty-two week high of $81.04. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.59, a quick ratio of 2.08 and a current ratio of 2.81. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $69.09 and its 200-day moving average is $66.00.

Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 5th. The specialty chemicals company reported $1.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.22. The business had revenue of $2.07 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.16 billion. Westlake Chemical had a net margin of 5.74% and a return on equity of 8.52%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 8.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.35 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts anticipate that Westlake Chemical will post 3.85 EPS for the current year.

Westlake Chemical Company Profile

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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