$1.14 billion in sales expected for The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) this quarter

Wall Street analysts expect The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) to post sales of $1.14 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Six analysts have released earnings estimates for Western Union, with estimates ranging from $1.07 billion to $1.18 billion. Western Union posted sales of $1.29 billion in the same quarter last year, indicating a negative growth rate of 11.6% year over year. The company is expected to release its next results on Monday, January 1.

On average, analysts expect Western Union to report annual sales of $4.56 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $4.52 billion to $4.60 billion. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect the company to record sales of $4.56 billion, with estimates ranging from $4.48 billion to $4.60 billion. Zacks sales averages are an average average based on a survey of sell-side analysts who cover Western Union.

Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last released its quarterly results on Thursday, April 28. The credit services provider reported EPS of $0.51 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.07. The company posted revenue of $1.16 billion for the quarter, compared with $1.16 billion for analysts. Western Union had a net margin of 18.29% and a return on equity of 269.10%. Western Union revenue was down 4.5% year over year. During the same period a year earlier, the company posted EPS of $0.44.

WU has been the subject of several recent research reports. StockNews.com picked up coverage of Western Union stocks in a Thursday, March 31 research note. They issued a “holding” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley reissued a “sell” rating and set a target price of $15.50 on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 11 report. Goldman Sachs Group launched coverage on Western Union shares in a research report on Tuesday, May 17. They issued a “sell” rating and a target price of $18.00 for the company. Wolfe Research reiterated a “hold” rating and set a price target of $21.00 on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 25 research report. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Western Union from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a target price of $20.00 for the company in a Thursday, April 14 report. Four investment analysts gave the stock a sell rating, ten gave the company a hold rating and one gave the company a buy rating. According to data from MarketBeat.com, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $19.96.

Shares of WU opened at $17.84 on Friday. The company has a debt ratio of 7.18, a quick ratio of 0.98 and a current ratio of 0.98. The company has a fifty-day moving average of $18.16 and a 200-day moving average of $18.11. Western Union has a 52-week minimum of $15.69 and a 52-week maximum of $25.34. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.89 billion, a price-earnings ratio of 7.86 and a beta of 0.91.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, June 30. Shareholders of record on Thursday, June 16 will receive a dividend of $0.235 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 15. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.27%. Western Union’s payout rate is 41.41%.

Western Union announced that its board of directors launched a stock repurchase program on Thursday, Feb. 10 that sees the company repurchase $1.00 billion in stock. This repurchase authorization allows the credit service provider to repurchase up to 13.5% of its shares through purchases on the open market. Share repurchase programs usually indicate that the company’s board of directors believe its shares are undervalued.

A number of large investors have recently changed their positions in WU. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings of Western Union shares by 17.2% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 60,702,355 shares of the credit service provider worth $1,082,930,000 after purchasing an additional 8,905,368 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Western Union during the fourth quarter worth $77,357,000. Schroder Investment Management Group raised its position in Western Union shares by 121.2% in the fourth quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 7,143,709 shares of the credit services provider worth $127,444,000 after acquiring an additional 3,914,104 shares during the period. Discerene Group LP increased its position in Western Union shares by 138.6% during the 4th quarter. Discerene Group LP now owns 5,681,336 shares of the credit service provider valued at $101,355,000 after acquiring an additional 3,299,899 shares during the period. Finally, State Street Corp increased its stake in Western Union shares by 10.4% in the 1st quarter. State Street Corp now owns 16,856,481 shares of the credit service provider valued at $315,890,000 after buying an additional 1,592,331 shares last quarter. 97.43% of the shares are currently held by institutional investors.

About Western Union (Get a rating)

The Western Union Company provides money transfer and payment services worldwide. The Company operates in two segments, Consumer-to-Consumer and Business Solutions. The Consumer-to-Consumer segment facilitates money transfers between two consumers, primarily through a network of third-party agents and sub-agents; and offers international cross-border transfers and intra-country transfers, as well as money transfer transactions via websites and mobile devices.

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