Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Saturday morning. The brokerage currently has $180.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Willis Towers has outperformed the industry quarter to date. The company is set to deliver value via incremental revenue growth, cost synergies and tax efficiencies besides unlocking the balance sheet capacity. Focus on realizing operational efficiencies, investing in new growth avenues and strengthening its client services bode well for the company. Its inorganic growth story remains impressive and helps leverage strength to penetrate deeper into the markets and expand its international presence. Willis Towers expects adjusted earnings per share between $10.12 and $10.32 (raised from the $9.88-$10.12 band), organic revenue growth of about 4% and EBITDA to be around 25% in 2018. However, escalating expenses, rising debt-level and an adverse forex remain its key concerns.”

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on WLTW. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on Willis Towers Watson from $171.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 14th. BidaskClub downgraded Willis Towers Watson from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. ValuEngine downgraded Willis Towers Watson from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Friday, August 3rd. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and set a $175.00 price objective on shares of Willis Towers Watson in a research note on Monday, August 6th. Finally, Raymond James upped their price objective on Willis Towers Watson from $175.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a strong-buy rating in a research note on Tuesday, November 6th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, ten have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $174.00.

WLTW stock opened at $160.26 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 1.86, a quick ratio of 1.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.44. The company has a market cap of $20.64 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.83, a PEG ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 0.74. Willis Towers Watson has a 12-month low of $134.50 and a 12-month high of $164.99.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Friday, November 2nd. The financial services provider reported $1.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.11 by $0.21. The business had revenue of $1.89 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.88 billion. Willis Towers Watson had a return on equity of 10.15% and a net margin of 6.84%. The business’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $1.12 EPS. Sell-side analysts expect that Willis Towers Watson will post 9.82 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, insider Todd J. Jones sold 2,450 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $155.56, for a total value of $381,122.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 17,864 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,778,923.84. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Julie Jarecke Gebauer sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $160.15, for a total value of $1,601,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 14,280 shares of company stock valued at $2,251,211. 0.50% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson in the second quarter worth $103,000. Advisors Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Willis Towers Watson by 3,261.4% in the second quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 28,404 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $120,000 after purchasing an additional 27,559 shares in the last quarter. Landaas & Co. WI ADV bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson in the second quarter worth $167,000. Advisor Partners LLC bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson in the second quarter worth $209,000. Finally, Edgestream Partners L.P. bought a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson in the third quarter worth $213,000. 91.78% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Willis Towers Watson

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.

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