Stock Traders Buy High Volume of The Western Union Put Options (WU)

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) was the recipient of some unusual options trading on Tuesday. Stock traders acquired 14,434 put options on the stock. This is an increase of 1,620% compared to the average volume of 839 put options.

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

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Assetmark Inc. grew its position in shares of The Western Union by 6,425.7% during the fourth quarter. Assetmark Inc. now owns 6,852 shares of the credit services provider’s stock valued at $130,000 after purchasing an additional 6,747 shares in the last quarter. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new position in shares of The Western Union during the fourth quarter valued at about $159,000. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new position in shares of The Western Union during the third quarter valued at about $186,000. Financial Counselors Inc. purchased a new position in shares of The Western Union during the fourth quarter valued at about $191,000. Finally, Fox Run Management L.L.C. purchased a new position in shares of The Western Union during the fourth quarter valued at about $196,000.

Shares of The Western Union (WU) traded up $0.55 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $20.30. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 13,492,319 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,943,901. The Western Union has a 1-year low of $18.39 and a 1-year high of $22.21. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.98, a current ratio of 1.00 and a quick ratio of 1.00. The stock has a market cap of $9,320.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 44.13, a PEG ratio of 1.85 and a beta of 1.05.

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

The firm also recently declared 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. This represents a $0.76 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.74%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 15th. This is a positive change from The Western Union’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.18. The Western Union’s dividend payout ratio is presently 152.17%.

Several equities research analysts have recently commented on the company. William Blair restated a “market perform” rating on shares of The Western Union in a research note on Wednesday. Mizuho upgraded The Western Union from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $16.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Wednesday. UBS Group upgraded The Western Union to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Morgan Stanley upped their price objective on The Western Union from $18.00 to $19.00 and gave the stock an “underweight” rating in a research note on Friday, November 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded The Western Union from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Six analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $19.85.

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The Western Union Company Profile

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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