Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the target of a significant decline in short interest in the month of March. As of March 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,347,019 shares, a decline of 27.3% from the March 15th total of 1,853,629 shares. Currently, 1.0% of the shares of the stock are short sold. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 648,448 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.1 days.
In related news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 9,438 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.95, for a total value of $1,509,608.10. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,041 shares in the company, valued at $3,525,457.95. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.
Several large investors have recently made changes to their positions in WLTW. FNY Managed Accounts LLC acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter worth $149,000. Calton & Associates Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter worth $192,000. Dean Capital Investments Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter worth $201,000. Advisor Partners LLC acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter worth $217,000. Finally, BancorpSouth Bank acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter worth $266,000. Institutional investors own 93.75% of the company’s stock.
Shares of WLTW opened at $150.08 on Friday. Willis Towers Watson has a one year low of $125.78 and a one year high of $165.00. The company has a market cap of $19,583.23, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.64, a PEG ratio of 1.22 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a current ratio of 1.82 and a quick ratio of 1.82.
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The financial services provider reported $2.21 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.11 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.08 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.99 billion. Willis Towers Watson had a net margin of 6.93% and a return on equity of 11.25%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $1.88 earnings per share. sell-side analysts anticipate that Willis Towers Watson will post 9.72 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Saturday, March 31st will be issued a dividend of $0.60 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 28th. This is an increase from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.60%. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is 28.20%.
Willis Towers Watson declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Monday, February 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $400.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.
Several equities research analysts recently issued reports on WLTW shares. Citigroup cut their price target on Willis Towers Watson from $184.00 to $175.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, April 10th. BidaskClub upgraded Willis Towers Watson from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Saturday, January 6th. Barclays reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $172.00 price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research note on Tuesday, January 9th. William Blair downgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. Finally, Bank of America downgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $163.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Monday, March 26th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $170.64.
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About Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company (Willis Towers Watson) is a holding company. The Company operates as a global advisory, broking and solutions company. It is engaged in offering risk management, insurance broking, consulting, technology and solutions, and private exchanges. The Company operates through eight segments: Willis International; Willis North America; Willis Capital, Wholesale & Reinsurance (CWR); Willis GB; Towers Watson Benefits; Towers Watson Exchange Solutions; Towers Watson Risk and Financial Services; and Towers Watson Talent and Rewards.
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