Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the recipient of a significant decrease in short interest during the month of November. As of November 29th, there was short interest totalling 1,170,000 shares, a decrease of 7.1% from the November 14th total of 1,260,000 shares. Currently, 0.9% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 554,100 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 2.1 days.
In other news, CAO Anne Donovan Bodnar sold 36,557 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $192.99, for a total value of $7,055,135.43. Following the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 67,002 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $12,930,715.98. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Joseph Gunn sold 3,214 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $185.59, for a total value of $596,486.26. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 18,436 shares in the company, valued at $3,421,537.24. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 42,461 shares of company stock worth $8,160,220 over the last three months. Company insiders own 0.75% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Redhawk Wealth Advisors Inc. acquired a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the second quarter worth about $31,000. Parallel Advisors LLC grew its position in Willis Towers Watson by 66.9% during the third quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 227 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $44,000 after buying an additional 91 shares in the last quarter. Thor Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter worth about $52,000. Signaturefd LLC lifted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 56.4% during the third quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 269 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $52,000 after purchasing an additional 97 shares during the period. Finally, CSat Investment Advisory L.P. lifted its stake in Willis Towers Watson by 251.3% during the second quarter. CSat Investment Advisory L.P. now owns 274 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $53,000 after purchasing an additional 196 shares during the period. 92.05% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The financial services provider reported $1.31 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.30 by $0.01. Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 13.01% and a net margin of 10.07%. The business had revenue of $1.99 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.98 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.32 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Willis Towers Watson will post 10.92 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, January 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 31st will be given a dividend of $0.65 per share. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.30%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 30th. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.72%.
Several equities research analysts have recently issued reports on WLTW shares. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $225.00 price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Sunday, November 24th. BidaskClub raised Willis Towers Watson from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 28th. Finally, ValuEngine downgraded Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Tuesday, December 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $204.09.
About Willis Towers Watson
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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