Willis Towers Watson’s (NASDAQ:WLTW) “Buy” Rating Reaffirmed at Barclays

Barclays reiterated their buy rating on shares of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) in a research note issued to investors on Sunday, February 18th. The brokerage currently has a $195.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock, up from their prior target price of $172.00.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on WLTW. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Willis Towers Watson from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, January 26th. Goldman Sachs Group began coverage on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research note on Monday, December 4th. They set a sell rating and a $153.00 price target on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus upped their price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson from $175.00 to $187.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, February 5th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co restated a sell rating and set a $124.00 price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and ten have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Willis Towers Watson currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $168.67.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) traded down $0.86 during trading on Friday, hitting $161.53. 316,934 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 576,199. Willis Towers Watson has a 1 year low of $125.66 and a 1 year high of $165.00. The company has a market cap of $21,460.00, a P/E ratio of 34.37, a P/E/G ratio of 1.62 and a beta of 0.89. The company has a quick ratio of 1.82, a current ratio of 1.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The financial services provider reported $2.21 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.11 by $0.10. Willis Towers Watson had a net margin of 6.93% and a return on equity of 11.25%. The firm had revenue of $2.08 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.99 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.88 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Willis Towers Watson will post 9.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Willis Towers Watson announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback program on Monday, February 26th that permits the company to repurchase $400.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Shareholders of record on Saturday, March 31st will be paid a $0.60 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 28th. This is a boost from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.49%. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is currently 45.11%.

In other Willis Towers Watson news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 9,438 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $159.95, for a total value of $1,509,608.10. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,041 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,525,457.95. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WLTW. Advisor Group Inc. grew its holdings in Willis Towers Watson by 30.2% in the 2nd quarter. Advisor Group Inc. now owns 699 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $101,000 after acquiring an additional 162 shares during the last quarter. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson in the 4th quarter worth $149,000. Calton & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson in the 4th quarter worth $192,000. Dean Capital Investments Management LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson in the 4th quarter worth $201,000. Finally, Capital Wealth Planning LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson in the 3rd quarter worth $204,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.75% of the company’s stock.

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Willis Towers Watson Company Profile

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW)

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