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Has Westlake Chemical (WLK) Outpaced Other Basic Materials Stocks This Year?

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For those looking to find strong Basic Materials stocks, it is prudent to search for companies in the group that are outperforming their peers. Westlake Chemical (WLK - Free Report) is a stock that can certainly grab the attention of many investors, but do its recent returns compare favorably to the sector as a whole? A quick glance at the company's year-to-date performance in comparison to the rest of the Basic Materials sector should help us answer this question.

Westlake Chemical is one of 247 individual stocks in the Basic Materials sector. Collectively, these companies sit at #5 in the Zacks Sector Rank. The Zacks Sector Rank considers 16 different sector groups. The average Zacks Rank of the individual stocks within the groups is measured, and the sectors are listed from best to worst.

The Zacks Rank is a successful stock-picking model that emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions. The system highlights a number of different stocks that could be poised to outperform the broader market over the next one to three months. Westlake Chemical is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy).

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for WLK's full-year earnings has moved 30.2% higher within the past quarter. This means that analyst sentiment is stronger and the stock's earnings outlook is improving.

According to our latest data, WLK has moved about 6.4% on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, stocks in the Basic Materials group have gained about 1.1% on average. As we can see, Westlake Chemical is performing better than its sector in the calendar year.

Another Basic Materials stock, which has outperformed the sector so far this year, is United States Steel (X - Free Report) . The stock has returned 6.7% year-to-date.

For United States Steel, the consensus EPS estimate for the current year has increased 61.1% over the past three months. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

To break things down more, Westlake Chemical belongs to the Chemical - Plastic industry, a group that includes 3 individual companies and currently sits at #107 in the Zacks Industry Rank. On average, this group has gained an average of 4.3% so far this year, meaning that WLK is performing better in terms of year-to-date returns.

In contrast, United States Steel falls under the Steel - Producers industry. Currently, this industry has 23 stocks and is ranked #38. Since the beginning of the year, the industry has moved +4.3%.

Westlake Chemical and United States Steel could continue their solid performance, so investors interested in Basic Materials stocks should continue to pay close attention to these stocks.

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