The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) has earned a consensus rating of “Hold” from the fifteen ratings companies that cover the stock, Marketbeat reports. Three research analysts rated the stock with a sell recommendation, nine gave a hold recommendation and two gave the company a buy recommendation. The 12-month average price target among analysts who have rated the stock over the past year is $20.54.
WU has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Bank of America downgraded Western Union from a “buy” rating to an “underperform” rating and lowered its target price for the stock from $25.00 to $20.00 in a Thursday 6 research note. january. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $15.50 price target on Western Union shares in a Friday, March 11 report. Citigroup reduced its price target on Western Union from $25.00 to $24.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a Wednesday, Jan. 26, report. StockNews.com picked up coverage from Western Union in a Thursday, March 31 report. They set a “holding” rating for the company. 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 report released Thursday.
A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Cantor Fitzgerald Investment Advisor LP increased its position in Western Union shares by 63.1% in the first quarter. Cantor Fitzgerald Investment Advisor LP now owns 70,974 shares of the credit services provider valued at $1,330,000 after purchasing an additional 27,469 shares during the period. Wedge Capital Management LLP NC bought a new position in Western Union stock during Q1 worth approximately $307,000. Nordea Investment Management AB increased its stake in Western Union by 8.6% in the 1st quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 32,623 shares of the credit services provider valued at $615,000 after buying 2,593 additional shares last quarter. American National Bank increased its holdings in Western Union by 15.5% during the first quarter. American National Bank now owns 69,838 shares of the credit service provider valued at $1,309,000 after buying an additional 9,370 shares in the last quarter. Finally, DNB Asset Management AS increased its stake in Western Union by 15.8% in the 1st quarter. DNB Asset Management AS now owns 143,289 shares of the credit services provider valued at $2,685,000 after buying an additional 19,566 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors hold 98.88% of the company’s shares.
NYSE WU opened at $18.95 on Friday. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.37 billion, a PE ratio of 9.62 and a beta of 0.90. The company has a debt ratio of 8.46, a current ratio of 0.97 and a quick ratio of 0.97. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $18.60 and a two-hundred-day simple moving average of $18.53. Western Union has a 1-year low of $15.69 and a 1-year high of $26.61.
Western Union (NYSE:WU – Get Rating) last released its results on Thursday, February 10. The credit service provider reported earnings per share of $0.64 for the quarter, beating the Zacks consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.11. The company posted revenue of $1.28 billion in the quarter, compared to analysts’ estimates of $1.29 billion. Western Union had a return on equity of 291.68% and a net margin of 15.89%. Western Union revenue increased 1.0% year over year. During the same period of the previous year, the company posted EPS of $0.45. On average, analysts expect Western Union to post 1.94 EPS for the current fiscal year.
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 of outstanding stock. This repurchase authorization allows the credit service provider to purchase up to 13.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believe its stock is 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. This represents a dividend of $0.94 on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.96%. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 16. Western Union’s dividend payout ratio 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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