Here's a Lasting Chemical High for Those With the Election Blues

Unless her emails suddenly reveal that she was a shooter on the grassy knoll at JFK's assassination, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is on track to become the next president of the U.S.

If she does indeed win on Tuesday, as the latest polls suggest, expect a huge relief rally this week in global equities.

But don't get complacent. Wall Street hates uncertainty, and there is still plenty to go around.

Terrorist threats abound, and a bloody attack would send markets reeling. Regional hot spots also flare up with regularity, from the oilfields of Iraq to the killing fields of Syria to the strategic shipping lanes of the South China Sea.

Exacerbating the perilous global picture is an international banking system that is teetering under enormous, unsustainable debt. And no matter who wins on Tuesday, American politics will remain riven by bitter partisan divisions for years.

Those looking for outsize but also reliable growth, should consider the thriving chemical industry. Westlake Chemical (WLK)  is an undervalued chemical maker that is poised for double-digit gains.

Chemicals are the fundamental building blocks of life and crucial to a huge variety of manufacturing processes and products. As the provider of raw materials for the modern economy, the chemical industry is cyclical and moves in tandem with overall economic growth.

Houston-based Westlake Chemical is an international manufacturer and marketer of fabricated building products, petrochemicals, polymers and vinyls. The company's products are used for consumer and industrial applications, including automotive parts, coatings, packaging, and commercial and residential construction.

With a market valuation of $6.47 billion, Westlake Chemical's mid-cap size affords greater room for capital appreciation than mega-cap peers Dow Chemical and DuPont, which are merging to become DowDuPont with an estimated market capitalization of $130 billion.

Dow Chemical is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells DOW? Learn more now.

Westlake Chemical boasts a solid track record in customer service and timely product delivery in the automotive and housing industries, earning it loyalty among clients that are experiencing boom times.

The company is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings before the market opens on Tuesday. The average analyst estimate is for earnings of 89 cents a share, compared with $1.39 a share a year earlier.

Unexpectedly strong U.S. economic growth during the quarter has lifted chemical demand and with it the chances of Westlake Chemical delivering an earnings surprise. In the second quarter, Westlake Chemical reported earnings of $1.21 a share, beating the consensus estimate of 95 cents a share for a positive surprise of 27.37%.

Another tailwind for Westlake Chemical's earnings is management's expectation that capital expenditures this year will be lower than the previous guidance of $500 million to $550 million.

U.S.-based chemical companies such as Westlake Chemical enjoy a greater cost advantage than their overseas counterparts because the glut of natural-gas liquids in North America has generated an oversupply of domestic feedstocks used in the manufacture of chemicals.

A steady stream of cheaper feedstocks has turned Westlake Chemical into a low-cost leader, which boosts its bottom line. The company sports a profit margin of 12.48%, compared with the industry's 7.1%.

Westlake Chemical's $3.8 billion acquisition of vinyl maker Axiall, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will further strengthen the company's economies of scale.

Shares of Westlake Chemical are trading at more than $51 apiece. The average analyst one-year price target for the stock is $55.75, which would represent a gain of more than 11%.

Westlake Chemical's trailing 12-month price-earnings ratio is just 12.53, compared with the industry's 25.1.

Shares of Westlake Chemical are a bargain bet on steady growth in a troubled world.

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John Persinos is an investment analyst at Investing Daily.

At the time of publication, he owned none of the stocks mentioned.

Persinos appears as a regular commentator on the financial television show Small Cap Nation. Follow him on Twitter.

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