Westlake Chemical Corporation
Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK) is another mid-cap name that boosted its payouts to shareholders last week. The company announced a 16.14% increase that brings its quarterly dividend to 7.375 cents per share -- while the firm's 0.67% yield hardly makes it a core income holding, the fact that management is willing to part with extra cash in this market is telling.
Westlake produces basic chemicals, polymers, vinyl and PVC, an offering mix that give the company significant exposure to industrial production and the construction industry. Essentially, that means that Westlake benefits from higher levels of production in the broad economy, potentially scary exposure given the potential for a double-dip recession.That said, investors shouldn't be too quick to run from this name. Westlake currently has $712 million in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet, nearly enough cash in its coffers to offset its entire long-term debt load. Consistent cash flows and a P/E under 10 make this stock worth a second look despite that exposure. Payouts have room to grow.
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