Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Thank heavens for small blessings. At one point this morning, shares of Westlake Chemical Corp.
So what: After all, Westlake beat earnings estimates. That's supposed to be a good thing, right? In fact, it pretty darn well crushed 'em -- earning $1.25 per share when analysts had expected only $1.02.
Now what: Westlake capitalized on the idea of using natural gas-based inputs (as opposed to gooey petroleum) to produce chemicals such as ethylene. With natural gas prices still low, producers such as Chesapeake Energy
I can only guess, but … if put on the spot, I'd say what we're seeing today is investors worrying that Westlake is close to peak profitability, and that it's all downhill from here. Today's profit report puts the stock at just under 14 times trailing earnings. That doesn't look expensive, but considering analysts only expect Westlake to grow its profits 8.5% per year over the long term, it may be more expensive than it appears.
Can Westlake confound the critics and keep surprising to the upside? Add the stock to your Watchlist today and you'll be first to know.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above, but Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Chesapeake Energy. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.