Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company (NASDAQ:WLTW) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Willis Towers outperformed the industry year to date. Willis Towers is set to deliver long-term shareholder value via incremental revenue growth, cost synergies, and tax efficiencies, besides unlocking balance sheet capacity. Focus on realizing operational efficiencies, investing in new growth avenues and strengthening its client services bode well. The legacy companies, acquired from buyouts over the last few years, will combine forces and leverage strengths to penetrate deeper into markets, and expand international presence. However, escalating expenses, rising debt level, and adverse forex remain concerns. Our proven model does not conclusively show that the company is likely to beat on earnings when it reports on Aug 3. While a Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP, an Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes prediction difficult.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on WLTW. UBS AG reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $163.00 target price (up from $159.00) on shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited in a research report on Monday, June 5th. Morgan Stanley reissued an overweight rating and issued a $160.00 price objective (up previously from $150.00) on shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited in a report on Friday, July 7th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price objective on Willis Towers Watson Public Limited from $166.00 to $174.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 13th. Wells Fargo & Company reissued a sell rating on shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited in a report on Sunday, April 9th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reissued a buy rating and issued a $166.00 price objective on shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited in a report on Friday, July 21st. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and twelve have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $151.38.

Shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited (NASDAQ:WLTW) opened at 150.12 on Thursday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $147.00 and a 200-day moving average of $135.61. Willis Towers Watson Public Limited has a 12 month low of $112.76 and a 12 month high of $150.71. The company has a market cap of $20.30 billion, a PE ratio of 39.48 and a beta of 0.93.

Willis Towers Watson Public Limited (NASDAQ:WLTW) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 4th. The financial services provider reported $3.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.33 by $0.38. Willis Towers Watson Public Limited had a return on equity of 10.76% and a net margin of 5.24%. The firm had revenue of $2.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.29 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $3.41 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts forecast that Willis Towers Watson Public Limited will post $8.51 earnings per share for the current year.

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The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, July 17th. Shareholders of record on Friday, June 30th were paid a $0.53 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, June 28th. This represents a $2.12 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.41%. Willis Towers Watson Public Limited’s dividend payout ratio is currently 69.97%.

In other Willis Towers Watson Public Limited news, insider Jeffrey W. Ubben sold 1,000,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $140.53, for a total value of $140,530,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Director Paul D. Thomas sold 2,200 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 10th. The stock was sold at an average price of $141.62, for a total value of $311,564.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 1,450,378 shares of company stock valued at $205,839,802. 6.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can increased its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited by 11.8% in the second quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 693 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 73 shares during the last quarter. Financial Architects Inc increased its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited by 170.6% in the first quarter. Financial Architects Inc now owns 1,253 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $164,000 after buying an additional 790 shares during the last quarter. Vivaldi Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited during the first quarter worth about $228,000. Bellwether Investment Group LLC increased its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited by 14.4% in the first quarter. Bellwether Investment Group LLC now owns 2,070 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $271,000 after buying an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Conning Inc. increased its position in shares of Willis Towers Watson Public Limited by 1.4% in the first quarter. Conning Inc. now owns 2,250 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $295,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 92.67% of the company’s stock.

About Willis Towers Watson Public Limited

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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Analyst Recommendations for Willis Towers Watson Public Limited (NASDAQ:WLTW)

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