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Wells Fargo raises Westlake Chemical stock target on strong margins By Investing.com

Wells Fargo raises Westlake Chemical stock target on strong margins By Investing.com

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On Wednesday, Wells Fargo updated its outlook on Westlake Chemical (NYSE:), raising the stock’s price target to $180 from $150 while maintaining an Overweight rating. The revised target reflects a positive view on the company’s prospects, influenced by favorable pricing and margins in key product segments.

The financial firm’s analysis indicated that Westlake Chemical is poised to benefit from increased prices in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and caustic soda, as well as improved margins in the Ethylene dichloride (EDC) and Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) (ECU) margins. This comes in the wake of the Polyethylene (PE) segment experiencing margin growth due to integrated PE margin increases.

The commentary from Wells Fargo highlighted that despite flat month-over-month prices in February, integrated margins grew by 3%, aided by advantageous feedstock costs. This improvement was further supported by some producers proposing a $0.03 per pound price increase for March.

Wells Fargo’s assessment also points to Westlake Chemical’s chlor alkali operating rates, which are reportedly in line with the industry average. This operational efficiency, combined with the healthy margin environment, is expected to sustain the company’s financial performance.

The raised price target on Westlake Chemical by Wells Fargo underscores the financial institution’s confidence in the company’s ability to capitalize on current market conditions and maintain robust margins across its product lines.

InvestingPro Insights

As Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) garners a favorable outlook from Wells Fargo with an increased price target, real-time data from InvestingPro further illuminates the company’s financial landscape. With a market capitalization of $19.72 billion, the company presents a P/E ratio of 41.28, which adjusts to a more modest 24.22 when considering the last twelve months as of Q4 2023. This adjustment suggests a more favorable earnings valuation than the raw P/E might imply.

The company’s revenue for the last twelve months as of Q4 2023 stands at $12.55 billion, although it has experienced a notable decline of 20.55% during this period. Despite this, Westlake Chemical has maintained a gross profit margin of 17.68% with an operating income margin at 9.82%, reflecting the company’s ability to preserve profitability amid revenue fluctuations. Additionally, the stock has shown strong recent performance with a one-year price total return of 32.63%, closely approaching its 52-week high…

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