Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK): Today's Featured Chemicals Winner

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Westlake Chemical Corporation ( WLK) pushed the Chemicals industry higher today making it today's featured chemicals winner. The industry as a whole closed the day up 0.4%. By the end of trading, Westlake Chemical Corporation rose $3.43 (4.7%) to $75.95 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 969,876 shares of Westlake Chemical Corporation exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 512,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $72.59-$76.14 after having opened the day at $72.72 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $72.52. Other companies within the Chemicals industry that increased today were: Lightbridge ( LTBR), up 17.1%, Omnova Solutions ( OMN), up 7.3%, Flexible Solutions International ( FSI), up 6.8%, and Braskem ( BAK), up 5.3%.
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Westlake Chemical Corporation manufactures and markets basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers, and fabricated building products. It operates in two segments, Olefins and Vinyls. Westlake Chemical Corporation has a market cap of $4.86 billion and is part of the basic materials sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 80.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are no analysts that rate Westlake Chemical Corporation a buy, two analysts rate it a sell, and five rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Westlake Chemical Corporation as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

On the negative front, Metabolix ( MBLX), down 16.7%, TOR Minerals International ( TORM), down 4.3%, Pacific Ethanol ( PEIX), down 3.9%, and Arabian American Development Company ( ARSD), down 3.8%, were all laggards within the chemicals industry with PPG Industries ( PPG) being today's chemicals industry laggard.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the chemicals industry could consider Materials Select Sector SPDR ( XLB) while those bearish on the chemicals industry could consider ProShares Short Basic Materials Fd ( SBM).

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