Short Interest in Willis Towers Watson PLC (WLTW) Decreases By 30.7%

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Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the target of a significant drop in short interest in the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 1,080,101 shares, a drop of 30.7% from the February 15th total of 1,558,270 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 745,154 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 1.4 days. Currently, 0.8% of the company’s shares are sold short.

In related news, insider Adam Garrard sold 3,517 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $171.71, for a total transaction of $603,904.07. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 5,542 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $951,616.82. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Joseph Gunn sold 2,042 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $168.30, for a total value of $343,668.60. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 17,264 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,905,531.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.50% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can boosted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 10.2% during the 4th quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 850 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $129,000 after purchasing an additional 79 shares during the last quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 1.8% during the 4th quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 5,762 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $875,000 after purchasing an additional 101 shares during the last quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 91.9% during the 4th quarter. JOYN Advisors Inc. now owns 286 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $43,000 after purchasing an additional 137 shares during the last quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. boosted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 1.3% during the 4th quarter. Scotia Capital Inc. now owns 10,525 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $1,598,000 after purchasing an additional 138 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 86.2% during the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 324 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $49,000 after purchasing an additional 150 shares during the last quarter. 92.18% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Willis Towers Watson stock opened at $173.65 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.86, a current ratio of 1.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. Willis Towers Watson has a 52 week low of $134.50 and a 52 week high of $187.91. The company has a market capitalization of $22.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.85, a PEG ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.80.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 7th. The financial services provider reported $4.00 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.06 by ($0.06). Willis Towers Watson had a net margin of 8.16% and a return on equity of 12.44%. The firm had revenue of $2.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.38 billion. During the same period last year, the business posted $2.21 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 10.9% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, research analysts predict that Willis Towers Watson will post 10.69 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Investors of record on Sunday, March 31st will be given a $0.65 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 28th. This represents a $2.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.50%. This is an increase from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 24.67%.

WLTW has been the subject of several recent analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $180.00 price objective for the company. in a research report on Saturday, November 17th. BidaskClub raised shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Credit Suisse Group restated an “outperform” rating and issued a $178.00 price target (up from $166.00) on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a report on Thursday, December 20th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $163.00 to $179.00 in a report on Tuesday, January 8th. Finally, Deutsche Bank upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and raised their price target for the stock from $149.00 to $164.00 in a report on Thursday, February 7th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating, nine have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $175.17.

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About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company operates as an advisory, broking, and solutions company worldwide. Its Human Capital and Benefits segment provides 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.

Further Reading: SEC Filing

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