The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) Receives a Consensus Rating of “Hold” by Analysts


Shares of The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) received an average rating of “Hold” from the sixteen brokerages that cover the company, MarketBeat reports. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and one has assigned the company a buy rating. The 12-month average price target among brokers who have hedged the stock over the past year is $20.12.

A number of research companies have recently commented on WU. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Western Union from a “sell” to a “hold” rating and set a price target of $20.00 for the company in a Thursday, April 14 research report. UBS Group began covering Western Union in a research report on Thursday, March 31. They set a “neutral” rating and a price target of $19.00 for the company. Morgan Stanley reiterated a “sell” rating and set a $15.50 price target on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 11 research report. StockNews.com supported coverage of Western Union in a research report on Thursday, March 31. They set a “holding” rating for the company. Finally, Citigroup downgraded Western Union from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a price target of $20.00 for the company. in a report on Friday, April 29.

WU stock opened at $17.19 on Tuesday. Western Union has a 1 year minimum of $15.69 and a 1 year maximum of $25.98. The company has a fifty-day moving average price of $18.34 and a 200-day moving average price of $18.24. The company has a debt ratio of 7.18, a current ratio of 0.98 and a quick ratio of 0.98. The stock has a market capitalization of $6.64 billion, a P/E ratio of 7.57 and a beta of 0.92.

Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last released its quarterly results on Thursday, April 28. The credit service provider reported earnings per share of $0.51 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.08. The company posted revenue of $1.16 billion in the quarter, compared to $1.16 billion expected by analysts. Western Union had a return on equity of 269.10% and a net margin of 18.29%. The company’s revenue was down 4.5% year over year. In the same quarter a year earlier, the company earned $0.44 per share. As a group, analysts expect Western Union to post 1.8 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, March 31. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 17 received a dividend of $0.235. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.47%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 16. Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 41.41%.

Western Union said its board authorized a stock buyback program on Thursday, Feb. 10 that allows the company to 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. Stock buyback programs are usually an indication that a company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently increased or reduced their stakes in the company. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in 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 buying an additional 8,905,368 shares last quarter. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Western Union stock in the fourth quarter for a value of approximately $77,357,000. Schroder Investment Management Group increased 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 buying 3,914,104 additional shares last quarter. Discerene Group LP increased its position 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 worth $101,355,000 after buying an additional 3,299,899 shares last quarter. Finally, Invesco Ltd. raised its position in Western Union shares by 19.8% in the third quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 9,182,789 shares of the credit service provider worth $185,676,000 after purchasing an additional 1,520,013 shares last quarter. 97.43% of the shares are held by hedge funds and other 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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