Willis Towers Watson Sees Unusually Large Options Volume (WLTW)

Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the target of unusually large options trading on Wednesday. Traders acquired 2,000 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 3,822% compared to the typical daily volume of 51 put options.

Several research firms recently commented on WLTW. Raymond James reissued a “strong-buy” rating and issued a $200.00 target price on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a report on Monday, May 6th. Citigroup increased their target price on Willis Towers Watson from $192.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, April 2nd. Morgan Stanley increased their target price on Willis Towers Watson from $180.00 to $190.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday. UBS Group increased their target price on Willis Towers Watson from $188.00 to $202.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, May 7th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co upped their price objective on shares of Willis Towers Watson from $164.00 to $175.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, eight have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $188.38.

In other news, Director Anna C. Catalano sold 1,110 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, May 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $180.35, for a total transaction of $200,188.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. 0.75% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. FMR LLC boosted its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 12.3% during the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,517,708 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $442,236,000 after buying an additional 276,226 shares during the period. BlueMountain Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the first quarter worth about $1,486,000. HighTower Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 0.9% during the first quarter. HighTower Advisors LLC now owns 25,743 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,506,000 after buying an additional 228 shares during the period. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. boosted its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 19.7% during the first quarter. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. now owns 1,402 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $246,000 after buying an additional 231 shares during the period. Finally, Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 389.1% during the first quarter. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors LLC now owns 22,500 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,952,000 after buying an additional 17,900 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 93.20% of the company’s stock.

NASDAQ WLTW traded up $2.68 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $178.06. The company had a trading volume of 492,026 shares, compared to its average volume of 687,424. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.54, a current ratio of 2.20 and a quick ratio of 2.20. Willis Towers Watson has a 1-year low of $134.50 and a 1-year high of $187.91. The company has a market capitalization of $22.45 billion, a PE ratio of 18.30, a P/E/G ratio of 1.52 and a beta of 0.81.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 1st. The financial services provider reported $2.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $2.99 by ($0.01). Willis Towers Watson had a net margin of 8.99% and a return on equity of 12.89%. The company had revenue of $2.31 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.37 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $2.71 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 1.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, research analysts expect that Willis Towers Watson will post 10.76 earnings per share for the current year.

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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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