The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) was the recipient of some unusual options trading activity on Tuesday. Investors bought 14,434 put options on the company. This is an increase of approximately 1,620% compared to the average daily volume of 839 put options.

In related news, insider Amintore Schenkel sold 15,600 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.99, for a total value of $343,044.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 93,694 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,060,331.06. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Jean Claude Farah sold 50,813 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, January 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.50, for a total transaction of $1,092,479.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 152,362 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,275,783. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.10% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its position in shares of The Western Union by 0.6% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 36,024,158 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $691,663,000 after acquiring an additional 222,786 shares during the period. Lyrical Asset Management LP increased its position in shares of The Western Union by 3.3% during the fourth quarter. Lyrical Asset Management LP now owns 11,335,825 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $215,494,000 after acquiring an additional 363,239 shares during the period. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC increased its position in shares of The Western Union by 1.0% during the fourth quarter. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC now owns 9,139,401 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $173,740,000 after acquiring an additional 94,611 shares during the period. LSV Asset Management increased its position in shares of The Western Union by 6.3% during the fourth quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 8,203,357 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $155,945,000 after acquiring an additional 483,400 shares during the period. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC increased its position in shares of The Western Union by 13.9% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 5,517,365 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $104,692,000 after acquiring an additional 673,748 shares during the period.

WU has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $17.00 price target on shares of The Western Union in a report on Thursday, December 14th. Susquehanna Bancshares raised shares of The Western Union from a “negative” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, January 8th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of The Western Union from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $22.00 price target for the company in a report on Monday, November 6th. Citigroup increased their price target on shares of The Western Union from $17.00 to $17.50 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of The Western Union from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Six investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $19.85.

Shares of The Western Union (WU) traded up $0.55 during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $20.30. 13,492,319 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 6,943,901. The company has a current ratio of 1.00, a quick ratio of 1.00 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.98. The company has a market capitalization of $9,320.00, a P/E ratio of 44.13, a P/E/G ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 1.05. The Western Union has a twelve month low of $18.39 and a twelve month high of $22.21.

The Western Union (NYSE:WU) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 13th. The credit services provider reported $0.41 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.45 by ($0.04). The firm had revenue of $1.44 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.40 billion. The Western Union had a return on equity of 116.85% and a net margin of 3.83%. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.47 EPS. research analysts predict that The Western Union will post 1.83 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 30th. Shareholders of record on Friday, March 16th will be paid a $0.19 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 15th. This represents a $0.76 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.74%. This is an increase from The Western Union’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 152.17%.

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About The Western Union

The Western Union Company (Western Union) is a provider of money movement and payment services. The Company operates through three segments: Consumer-to-Consumer, Consumer-to-Business and Business Solutions. The Company’s Consumer-to-Consumer segment facilitates money transfers between two consumers, primarily through a network of third-party agents.

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