Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ:WLTW) was the target of a large decline in short interest in February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 1,080,101 shares, a decline of 30.7% from the February 15th total of 1,558,270 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 745,154 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.4 days. Approximately 0.8% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Shares of NASDAQ WLTW opened at $172.25 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44, a quick ratio of 1.86 and a current ratio of 1.86. The stock has a market cap of $22.04 billion, a PE ratio of 17.70, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 0.80. Willis Towers Watson has a 12-month low of $134.50 and a 12-month high of $187.91.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 7th. The financial services provider reported $4.00 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $4.06 by ($0.06). Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 12.44% and a net margin of 8.16%. The firm had revenue of $2.37 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $2.38 billion. During the same period last year, the company earned $2.21 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 10.9% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, sell-side analysts expect that Willis Towers Watson will post 10.69 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Investors of record on Sunday, March 31st will be given a $0.65 dividend. This is a positive change from Willis Towers Watson’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.60. This represents a $2.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.51%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 28th. Willis Towers Watson’s dividend payout ratio is 24.67%.

In other Willis Towers Watson news, insider Joseph Gunn sold 2,042 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, February 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $168.30, for a total value of $343,668.60. Following the sale, the insider now owns 17,264 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,905,531.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Adam Garrard sold 3,517 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $171.71, for a total transaction of $603,904.07. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 5,542 shares in the company, valued at approximately $951,616.82. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.50% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of WLTW. WINTON GROUP Ltd acquired a new stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter worth about $222,000. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter worth about $319,000. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter worth about $3,185,000. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its holdings in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 0.4% during the third quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 85,111 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $11,993,000 after buying an additional 320 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Edgestream Partners L.P. bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson during the third quarter worth about $213,000. 92.18% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Several brokerages have recently issued reports on WLTW. Credit Suisse Group restated an “outperform” rating and set a $178.00 target price (up from $166.00) on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $175.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, November 21st. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their target price for the company from $163.00 to $179.00 in a research report on Tuesday, January 8th. William Blair restated a “market perform” rating on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research report on Thursday, February 7th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, December 20th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $175.17.

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Willis Towers Watson Company Profile

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company operates as an advisory, broking, and solutions company worldwide. Its Human Capital and Benefits segment provides 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.

Further Reading: Systematic Risk

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