SunTrust Banks Equities Analysts Boost Earnings Estimates for Willis Towers Watson (WLTW)

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) – Equities researchers at SunTrust Banks lifted their Q4 2018 earnings per share estimates for shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. SunTrust Banks analyst M. Hughes now anticipates that the financial services provider will post earnings per share of $2.75 for the quarter, up from their previous estimate of $2.52. SunTrust Banks currently has a “Buy” rating and a $192.00 price target on the stock. SunTrust Banks also issued estimates for Willis Towers Watson’s Q1 2019 earnings at $4.09 EPS, Q2 2019 earnings at $2.07 EPS, Q3 2019 earnings at $1.66 EPS and Q4 2019 earnings at $3.08 EPS.

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, topping analysts’ consensus estimates 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 business had revenue of $2.08 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.99 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.88 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year.

Other analysts have also issued research reports about the company. BidaskClub upgraded Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, February 5th. Stifel Nicolaus increased their price target on Willis Towers Watson from $175.00 to $187.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, February 5th. ValuEngine raised Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Barclays reissued a “buy” rating and set a $172.00 price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Finally, MKM Partners increased their price target on Willis Towers Watson to $190.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, March 19th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $171.08.

Shares of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) opened at $151.51 on Friday. 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 has a 52 week low of $125.66 and a 52 week high of $165.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $20,448.56, a price-to-earnings ratio of 36.25, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.54 and a beta of 0.88.

Willis Towers Watson announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase 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 usually an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Investors of record on Saturday, March 31st will be given a dividend of $0.60 per share. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 28th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.58%. This is an increase from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.72%.

In related news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 9,437 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.94, for a total transaction of $1,509,353.78. Following the sale, the insider now owns 22,040 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,525,077.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 6.70% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of WLTW. FNY Managed Accounts LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter valued at about $149,000. Calton & Associates Inc. bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter valued at about $192,000. Dean Capital Investments Management LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter valued at about $201,000. Capital Wealth Planning LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter valued at about $204,000. Finally, Advisor Partners LLC bought a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the fourth quarter valued at about $217,000. 93.73% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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.

Earnings History and Estimates for Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW)

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