Russell Investments Group Ltd. sells 49,583 shares of The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU)

Russell Investments Group Ltd. cut its stake in The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) by 5.9% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund held 797,138 shares of the credit service provider after selling 49,583 shares during the quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. owned 0.21% of Western Union worth $14,962,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds have also recently changed their positions in the company. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. increased its holdings of Western Union shares 2.1% in the first quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. now owns 444,935 shares of the credit services provider worth $9,464,000 after buying 9,275 additional shares in the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC increased its holdings in Western Union by 48.7% in the first quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 63,642 shares of the credit services provider valued at $1,192,000 after buying an additional 20,845 shares last quarter. Banque Pictet & Cie SA bought a new position in Western Union during the first quarter worth approximately $403,000. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in Western Union by 4.5% in the first quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 766,138 shares of the credit service provider valued at $14,357,000 after buying an additional 33,000 shares last quarter. Finally, Versor Investments LP increased its stake in Western Union by 332.5% during the first quarter. Versor Investments LP now owns 49,300 shares of the credit services provider valued at $924,000 after buying an additional 37,900 shares last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 97.43% of the company’s shares.

Western Union trades down 5.6%

WU stock opened at $16.25 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.98, a current ratio of 0.98 and a leverage ratio of 7.18. The Western Union Company has a 12-month low of $15.30 and a 12-month high of $22.93. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.27 billion, a price-earnings ratio of 7.16 and a beta of 0.89. The company’s fifty-day simple moving average is $16.79 and its two-hundred-day simple moving average is $17.79.

Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last released quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3. The credit services provider reported earnings per share of $0.51 for the quarter, beating consensus analyst estimates of $0.41 by $0.10. Western Union had a net margin of 18.29% and a return on equity of 269.10%. In the same quarter of the previous year, the company achieved EPS of $0.48. As a group, analysts expect The Western Union Company to post 1.8 earnings per share for the current year.

Western Union announces dividend

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 30. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 16 will receive a dividend of $0.235 per share. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.78%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 15. Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 41.41%.

Analysts set new price targets

Several brokerages have weighed in on WU. UBS Group lowered its price target on Western Union shares from $19.00 to $18.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday. Citigroup downgraded Western Union shares from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a target price of $20.00 for the stock. in a report on Friday, April 29. Wolfe Research downgraded Western Union shares from a “market performance” rating to an “underperform” rating and lowered their target price for the stock from $20.00 to $17.00 in a report of Wednesday July 20. TheStreet downgraded Western Union shares from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a Tuesday, July 12 report. Finally, Northland Securities lowered its target price on Western Union shares from $24.00 to $22.00 in a report released Thursday. Five research analysts gave the stock a sell rating, eight issued a hold rating and one issued the company a buy rating. Based on MarketBeat data, Western Union currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $19.23.

Western Union Company Profile

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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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Institutional ownership by quarter for Western Union (NYSE:WU)

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