Franklin Resources Inc. lessened its stake in Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) by 14.7% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The firm owned 385,889 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after selling 66,680 shares during the quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. owned about 0.29% of Willis Towers Watson worth $58,149,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in WLTW. Permian Investment Partners LP purchased a new position in Willis Towers Watson in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $78,657,000. Longview Partners Guernsey LTD boosted its holdings in Willis Towers Watson by 8.3% in the 4th quarter. Longview Partners Guernsey LTD now owns 6,146,219 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $926,174,000 after acquiring an additional 468,525 shares during the period. Virtus Fund Advisers LLC purchased a new position in Willis Towers Watson in the 4th quarter worth approximately $48,750,000. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. boosted its holdings in Willis Towers Watson by 6,097.5% in the 3rd quarter. Asset Management One Co. Ltd. now owns 190,450 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $29,373,000 after acquiring an additional 187,377 shares during the period. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its holdings in Willis Towers Watson by 12.3% in the 4th quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 1,635,349 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $246,431,000 after acquiring an additional 179,146 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 93.75% of the company’s stock.

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Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ WLTW) opened at $162.80 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $21,456.04, a P/E ratio of 38.95, a PEG ratio of 1.61 and a beta of 0.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 1.82 and a current ratio of 1.82. Willis Towers Watson has a one year low of $125.66 and a one year high of $165.00.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The financial services provider reported $2.21 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $2.11 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $2.08 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.99 billion. Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 11.25% and a net margin of 6.93%. The business’s revenue was up 7.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.88 EPS. sell-side analysts anticipate that Willis Towers Watson will post 9.9 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Investors of record on Saturday, March 31st will be given a dividend of $0.60 per share. This is a positive change from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.47%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 28th. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is currently 50.72%.

Willis Towers Watson announced that its board has initiated a stock buyback plan on Monday, February 26th that permits the company to buyback $400.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the financial services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

A number of research firms have weighed in on WLTW. Goldman Sachs upgraded Willis Towers Watson from a “sell” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $153.00 price target for the company in a report on Thursday. Wells Fargo restated a “hold” rating and issued a $154.00 price target on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a report on Wednesday, January 10th. Zacks Investment Research cut Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Friday, January 26th. BidaskClub upgraded Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, February 5th. Finally, Deutsche Bank increased their target price on Willis Towers Watson from $140.00 to $150.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Friday, February 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $168.67.

In related news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 9,438 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $159.95, for a total transaction of $1,509,608.10. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 22,041 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,525,457.95. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.

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Willis Towers Watson Company Profile

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company (Willis Towers Watson) is a holding company. The Company operates as a global advisory, broking and solutions company. It is engaged in offering risk management, insurance broking, consulting, technology and solutions, and private exchanges. The Company operates through eight segments: Willis International; Willis North America; Willis Capital, Wholesale & Reinsurance (CWR); Willis GB; Towers Watson Benefits; Towers Watson Exchange Solutions; Towers Watson Risk and Financial Services; and Towers Watson Talent and Rewards.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW)

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