Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the target of a large growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,760,000 shares, a growth of 38.7% from the August 15th total of 2,710,000 shares. Approximately 2.9% of the shares of the company are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 732,700 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 5.1 days.
WLTW has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Raymond James cut shares of Willis Towers Watson from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 5th. Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on Willis Towers Watson from $229.00 to $218.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, August 19th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Willis Towers Watson from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, September 9th. Eleven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Willis Towers Watson has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $213.07.
A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WLTW. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company grew its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 21.6% during the 1st quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company now owns 196,574 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $33,388,000 after acquiring an additional 34,891 shares during the period. AXA grew its holdings in Willis Towers Watson by 54.7% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 24,471 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $4,156,000 after purchasing an additional 8,654 shares during the period. Two Sigma Advisers LP increased its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 15.6% in the first quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 59,208 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $10,056,000 after buying an additional 8,000 shares in the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. raised its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 12.2% during the 2nd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 80,908 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $14,188,000 after buying an additional 8,800 shares during the period. Finally, New England Guild Wealth Advisors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $208,000. 90.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
Shares of WLTW opened at $206.94 on Thursday. The company has a market capitalization of $26.67 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.46 and a beta of 0.74. Willis Towers Watson has a 52 week low of $143.34 and a 52 week high of $220.97. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $204.02 and its 200-day moving average price is $194.16. The company has a quick ratio of 1.73, a current ratio of 1.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.48.
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 30th. The financial services provider reported $1.80 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.62 by $0.18. The company had revenue of $2.11 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.05 billion. Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 14.32% and a net margin of 11.00%. Willis Towers Watson’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $1.78 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Willis Towers Watson will post 11.45 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 15th. Investors of record on Wednesday, September 30th will be given a dividend of $0.68 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 29th. This represents a $2.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.31%. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is presently 24.82%.
Willis Towers Watson Company Profile
Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company operates as an advisory, broking, and solutions company worldwide. The company's Human Capital and Benefits segment offers actuarial support, plan design, and administrative services for traditional pension and retirement savings plans; plan management consulting, broking, and administration services for health and group benefit programs; and benefits outsourcing services.
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