World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) Shares Gap Up After Better-Than-Expected Earnings

Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) gapped up prior to trading on Friday following a better than expected earnings announcement. The stock had previously closed at $26.55, but opened at $24.40. World Wrestling Entertainment shares last traded at $26.03, with a volume of 871,092 shares.

The company reported $0.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.20 by $0.08. The business had revenue of $186.40 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $176.19 million. World Wrestling Entertainment had a return on equity of 13.07% and a net margin of 3.29%. World Wrestling Entertainment’s revenue for the quarter was up 13.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.14 EPS.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 26th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be given a dividend of $0.12 per share. This represents a $0.48 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.97%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. World Wrestling Entertainment’s dividend payout ratio is currently 154.84%.

Several research analysts recently issued reports on WWE shares. Morgan Stanley started coverage on World Wrestling Entertainment in a research report on Friday, June 30th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $23.00 target price for the company. ValuEngine lowered World Wrestling Entertainment from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Zacks Investment Research raised World Wrestling Entertainment from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Benchmark Co. reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $25.00 price objective (down from $26.00) on shares of World Wrestling Entertainment in a research report on Sunday, July 30th. Finally, BidaskClub lowered World Wrestling Entertainment from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 9th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $24.38.

In related news, SVP Mark Kowal sold 4,750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $21.44, for a total value of $101,840.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 17,011 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $364,715.84. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, EVP Casey Collins sold 13,383 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.23, for a total value of $284,121.09. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,926 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $932,548.98. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 173,231 shares of company stock valued at $3,660,354. Corporate insiders own 49.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Lindsell Train Ltd increased its position in World Wrestling Entertainment by 4.2% in the 2nd quarter. Lindsell Train Ltd now owns 7,082,868 shares of the company’s stock valued at $144,278,000 after buying an additional 286,635 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in World Wrestling Entertainment by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,487,555 shares of the company’s stock valued at $91,410,000 after buying an additional 61,167 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley increased its position in World Wrestling Entertainment by 22.5% in the 1st quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 1,807,629 shares of the company’s stock valued at $40,165,000 after buying an additional 331,584 shares in the last quarter. EastBay Asset Management LLC increased its position in World Wrestling Entertainment by 153.2% in the 2nd quarter. EastBay Asset Management LLC now owns 1,337,130 shares of the company’s stock valued at $27,237,000 after buying an additional 809,130 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Eagle Boston Investment Management Inc. increased its position in World Wrestling Entertainment by 100.8% in the 2nd quarter. Eagle Boston Investment Management Inc. now owns 916,673 shares of the company’s stock valued at $19,516,000 after buying an additional 460,117 shares in the last quarter. 49.47% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

The stock has a market capitalization of $2.01 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 79.54 and a beta of 0.84. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $22.64 and its 200 day moving average price is $21.29.

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World Wrestling Entertainment Company Profile

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc (WWE) is an integrated media and entertainment company. The Company’s segments are Network, Television, Home Entertainment, Digital Media, Live Events, Licensing, Venue Merchandise, WWEShop, WWE Studios, and Corporate and Other. The Company is engaged in the production and distribution of content through various channels, including its WWE Network, television rights agreements, pay-per-view event programming, live events, feature films, licensing of various WWE themed products, and the sale of consumer products featuring its brands.

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