Western Union Company (The) (WU) Lowered to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Western Union Company (The) (NYSE:WU) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Western Union’s strategic investments in new products, services and technology are likely to pave the way for long-term growth. Relentless focus on expansion of customer base, creation of digital infrastructure to boost the electronic channels business should also fuel growth. The company’s wide agent network and strong international business are also impressive. In last one year, the stock has underperformed the industry. Nevertheless, the stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings being revised 3% upward over the last 60 days. The company is faced with increasing competition, high compliance costs, global headwinds and foreign exchange volatility..”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. BidaskClub downgraded Western Union Company (The) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Friday, June 9th. Mizuho initiated coverage on Western Union Company (The) in a report on Tuesday, June 27th. They set an underperform rating and a $16.00 price objective on the stock. Barclays PLC lifted their price objective on Western Union Company (The) from $21.00 to $22.00 and gave the company an underweight rating in a report on Friday, August 4th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $20.00 price objective (up from $19.00) on shares of Western Union Company (The) in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Western Union Company (The) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, September 1st. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $20.38.

Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) opened at 19.52 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $9.06 billion, a P/E ratio of 50.18 and a beta of 1.20. Western Union Company has a 12-month low of $18.39 and a 12-month high of $22.70. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $19.01 and its 200-day moving average price is $19.28.

Western Union Company (The) (NYSE:WU) last released its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The credit services provider reported $0.50 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.08. Western Union Company (The) had a return on equity of 92.41% and a net margin of 3.50%. The business had revenue of $1.38 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.37 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.44 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .2% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Western Union Company will post $1.77 EPS for the current year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th were issued a $0.175 dividend. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.59%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, September 14th. Western Union Company (The)’s payout ratio is currently 179.49%.

In other news, EVP John David Thompson sold 23,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.12, for a total value of $472,820.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 129,650 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,608,558. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 1.10% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Eqis Capital Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Western Union Company (The) by 9.3% in the 3rd quarter. Eqis Capital Management Inc. now owns 72,748 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,397,000 after acquiring an additional 6,185 shares in the last quarter. Curbstone Financial Management Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Western Union Company (The) by 82.2% in the 3rd quarter. Curbstone Financial Management Corp now owns 34,200 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $657,000 after acquiring an additional 15,425 shares in the last quarter. Perpetual Ltd acquired a new position in shares of Western Union Company (The) in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $3,792,000. Navellier & Associates Inc boosted its holdings in shares of Western Union Company (The) by 3.5% in the 2nd quarter. Navellier & Associates Inc now owns 87,829 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,673,000 after acquiring an additional 2,988 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Toronto Dominion Bank boosted its holdings in shares of Western Union Company (The) by 23.0% in the 2nd quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 159,762 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $3,043,000 after acquiring an additional 29,887 shares in the last quarter.

About Western Union Company (The)

The Western Union Company (Western Union) is a provider of money movement and payment services. The Company operates through three segments: Consumer-to-Consumer, Consumer-to-Business and Business Solutions. The Company’s Consumer-to-Consumer segment facilitates money transfers between two consumers, primarily through a network of third-party agents.

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