The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) receives an average “hold” recommendation from analysts

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) earned an average recommendation of “Hold” from the twelve rating agencies that cover the company, Marketbeat reports. Three research analysts rated the stock with a sell recommendation, six gave a hold recommendation and two gave the company a buy recommendation. The average 1-year price target among brokerages that have reported on the stock in the past year is $21.35.

WU has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Citigroup lowered its price target on Western Union from $25.00 to $24.00 and placed a “buy” rating on the stock in a Wednesday, Jan. 26 research note. Morgan Stanley reissued a “sell” rating and posted a $15.50 price target on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 11 report. Bank of America downgraded Western Union from a “buy” rating to an “underperform” rating and lowered its price target for the stock from $25.00 to $20.00 in a Thursday 6 report. January. Finally, TheStreet downgraded Western Union from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a Wednesday, November 24 research note.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently changed their holdings in the company. Denali Advisors LLC purchased a new equity stake in Western Union in the fourth quarter for $25,000. CWM LLC acquired a new stake in Western Union during the fourth quarter worth approximately $30,000. NEXT Financial Group Inc increased its position in Western Union by 83.5% during the third quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 2,110 shares of the credit service provider worth $42,000 after buying an additional 960 shares last quarter. Spire Wealth Management bought a new position in Western Union during the fourth quarter worth about $42,000. Finally, Carroll Financial Associates Inc. increased its stake in Western Union by 3,208.6% during the fourth quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 2,680 shares of the credit service provider worth $47,000 after buying 2,599 additional shares during the period. 98.88% of the shares are held by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Shares of WU opened at $18.00 on Monday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $18.46 and its two-hundred-day moving average is $18.79. Western Union has a 12-month low of $15.69 and a 12-month high of $26.61. The company has a market capitalization of $7.08 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.14 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a current ratio of 0.97, a quick ratio of 0.97 and a debt ratio of 8.46.

Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last announced its results on Thursday, February 10. The credit services provider reported earnings per share of $0.64 for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate 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, versus a consensus estimate of $1.29 billion. During the same period last year, the company posted EPS of $0.45. The company’s revenue increased 1.0% year over year. As a group, stock analysts predict Western Union will post earnings per share of 1.96 for the current fiscal year.

Western Union said its board of directors launched 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 a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 31. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 17 will receive a dividend of $0.235 per share. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.22%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 16. Western Union’s payout rate is 47.72%.

Western Union Company Profile (Get a rating)

The Western Union Co is a holding company that provides money transfer and payment services. It operates through the following segments: Consumer-to-Consumer, Business Solutions and Other. The Consumer-to-Consumer segment facilitates money transfers between two consumers. The Business Solutions segment offers payment and foreign exchange solutions, cross-border and cross-currency transactions for small and medium-sized businesses and other organizations and individuals.

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Analyst recommendations for Western Union (NYSE: WU)

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