Keefe, Bruyette & Woods began coverage on shares of The Western Union (NYSE:WU) in a research report released on Thursday, MarketBeat.com reports. The firm issued a market perform rating on the credit services provider’s stock.

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on WU. Zacks Investment Research upgraded The Western Union from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 8th. Wells Fargo & Co lowered The Western Union from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $20.00 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Tuesday, November 6th. Finally, Barclays initiated coverage on The Western Union in a research note on Wednesday, November 14th. They issued an underweight rating and a $18.00 price objective on the stock. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $18.83.

The Western Union stock opened at $18.15 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $8.04 billion, a PE ratio of 10.08, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 1.04. The Western Union has a 52 week low of $17.40 and a 52 week high of $22.21.

The Western Union (NYSE:WU) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, November 1st. The credit services provider reported $0.52 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.48 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.39 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.43 billion. The Western Union had a negative return on equity of 194.60% and a negative net margin of 8.55%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.53 earnings per share. On average, research analysts predict that The Western Union will post 1.92 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 31st. Investors of record on Monday, December 17th will be given a dividend of $0.19 per share. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.19%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, December 14th. The Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 42.22%.

In related news, EVP Sheri Rhodes sold 2,175 shares of The Western Union stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.02, for a total transaction of $41,368.50. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 51,775 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $984,760.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. 1.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in The Western Union by 5.2% during the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 42,924,736 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $872,659,000 after buying an additional 2,103,385 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its position in The Western Union by 53,019.7% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 29,221,152 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $556,956,000 after buying an additional 29,166,142 shares in the last quarter. Lyrical Asset Management LP boosted its holdings in The Western Union by 6.5% during the third quarter. Lyrical Asset Management LP now owns 13,200,987 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $251,611,000 after purchasing an additional 809,286 shares in the last quarter. Jupiter Asset Management Ltd. boosted its holdings in The Western Union by 83.4% during the third quarter. Jupiter Asset Management Ltd. now owns 11,775,000 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $224,432,000 after purchasing an additional 5,353,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Clarkston Capital Partners LLC boosted its holdings in The Western Union by 9.0% during the third quarter. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC now owns 10,403,376 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $198,288,000 after purchasing an additional 855,121 shares in the last quarter.

The Western Union Company Profile

The Western Union Company provides money movement and payment services worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Consumer-to-Consumer and Business Solutions. The Consumer-to-Consumer segment facilitates money transfers between two consumers, primarily through a network of third-party agents. This segment offers international cross-border transfers and intra-country transfers, as well as money transfer transactions through Websites and mobile devices.

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Analyst Recommendations for The Western Union (NYSE:WU)

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