Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) from a sell rating to a neutral rating in a research report released on Thursday morning. The brokerage currently has $153.00 target price on the financial services provider’s stock.
Several other research analysts have also weighed in on WLTW. ValuEngine lowered Willis Towers Watson from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, December 1st. BidaskClub lowered Willis Towers Watson from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Friday, December 22nd. Barclays reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $172.00 target price on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $154.00 target price on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, William Blair lowered Willis Towers Watson from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 16th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $168.67.
Shares of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ WLTW) traded down $0.27 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $162.01. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 183,987 shares, compared to its average volume of 562,793. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 1.82 and a current ratio of 1.82. Willis Towers Watson has a 12 month low of $125.66 and a 12 month high of $165.00. The firm has a market cap of $21,356.88, a price-to-earnings ratio of 38.82, a P/E/G ratio of 1.60 and a beta of 0.88.
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The financial services provider reported $2.21 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $2.11 by $0.10. Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 11.25% and a net margin of 6.93%. The company had revenue of $2.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.99 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.88 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Willis Towers Watson will post 9.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently disclosed 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. This is a positive change from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 28th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.48%. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.72%.
Willis Towers Watson declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Monday, February 26th that authorizes the company to buyback $400.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.
In other news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 9,438 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.95, for a total transaction of $1,509,608.10. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 22,041 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,525,457.95. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WLTW. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $149,000. Calton & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $192,000. Dean Capital Investments Management LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $201,000. Capital Wealth Planning LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $204,000. Finally, Advisor Partners LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $217,000. 93.75% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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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