Brokers expect The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) to report sales of $1.15 billion in the current quarter, according to Zacks. Six analysts have released earnings estimates for Western Union, with the highest sales estimate at $1.20 billion and the lowest estimate at $1.08 billion. Western Union posted sales of $1.21 billion in the same quarter last year, suggesting a negative 5% year-over-year growth rate. The company is expected to announce its next quarterly earnings report after the market closes on Monday, January 1.
On average, analysts expect Western Union to report annual sales of $4.72 billion for the current year, with estimates ranging from $4.57 billion to $4.81 billion. For next year, analysts expect the company to report sales of $4.74 billion, with estimates ranging from $4.61 billion to $4.86 billion. Zacks sales averages are an average average based on a survey of sell-side analysts who track Western Union.
Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last released quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 10. The credit services provider reported EPS of $0.64 for the quarter, beating analyst consensus estimates of $0.53 by $0.11. Western Union had a return on equity of 291.68% and a net margin of 15.89%. The company posted revenue of $1.28 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ estimates of $1.29 billion. In the same period a year earlier, the company posted earnings per share of $0.45. The company’s revenue for the quarter increased 1.0% year over year.
A number of stock analysts have published reports on WU shares. Wolfe Research reiterated a “hold” rating and set a price target of $21.00 on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 25 report. Bank of America downgraded Western Union shares from a “buy” rating to an “underperform” rating and lowered its price target for the stock from $25.00 to $20.00 in a rating of research from Thursday, January 6. Citigroup cut its price target on Western Union shares from $25.00 to $24.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a Wednesday, Jan. 26 research note. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Western Union shares from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a target price of $20.00 for the company in a Thursday, April 14 research note. Finally, StockNews.com took over coverage of Western Union stocks in a Thursday, March 31 research report. They set a “holding” rating for the company. Three analysts gave the stock a sell rating, nine gave the company a hold rating and two gave the company a buy rating. According to MarketBeat.com, the company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $20.54.
Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Western Union shares by 17.2% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 60,702,355 shares of the credit service provider valued at $1,082,930,000 after buying an additional 8,905,368 shares last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp increased its stake in Western Union by 139.0% during the third quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 8,143,421 shares of the credit services provider valued at $164,660,000 after buying an additional 4,736,661 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in Western Union during the fourth quarter worth approximately $77,357,000. Schroder Investment Management Group increased its position in Western Union shares by 121.2% during the fourth quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 7,143,709 shares of the credit services provider worth $127,444,000 after acquiring 3,914,104 additional shares in the last quarter. Finally, Discerene Group LP increased its stake in Western Union shares by 138.6% in the fourth 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. 98.88% of the shares are held by institutional investors.
WU stock opened at $19.82 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $18.66 and its 200-day moving average is $18.48. The company has a quick ratio of 0.97, a current ratio of 0.97 and a leverage ratio of 8.46. The company has a market capitalization of $7.70 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.06 and a beta of 0.90. Western Union has a 12-month low of $15.69 and a 12-month high of $26.61.
Western Union announced that its board of directors authorized a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, Feb. 10 that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in stock. This repurchase authorization authorizes the credit service provider to repurchase up to 13.5% of its shares through purchases on the open market. Stock repurchase plans usually indicate that the management of the company believes that its shares are undervalued.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 31. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 17 received a dividend of $0.235 per share. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 16. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.74%. Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 47.72%.
Western Union Company Profile (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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