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

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) saw some unusual options trading activity on Monday. Stock traders bought 575 put options on the company. This represents an increase of 688% compared to the typical volume of 73 put options.

The Western Union (NYSE:WU) opened at $21.12 on Friday. The company has a market cap of $9,727.81, a P/E ratio of 45.91, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.98 and a beta of 1.00. The Western Union has a one year low of $18.39 and a one year high of $22.25. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.98, a quick ratio of 1.00 and a current ratio of 1.00.

The Western Union (NYSE:WU) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 2nd. The credit services provider reported $0.53 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.44 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $1.40 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.39 billion. The Western Union had a net margin of 3.83% and a return on equity of 116.85%. The business’s revenue was up 5.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.46 earnings per share. sell-side analysts predict that The Western Union will post 1.83 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 29th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 18th were paid a dividend of $0.175 per share. This represents a $0.70 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.31%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 15th. The Western Union’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 152.17%.

A number of brokerages recently weighed in on WU. Susquehanna Bancshares raised shares of The Western Union from a “negative” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, January 8th. UBS Group raised shares of The Western Union to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Mizuho reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $16.00 target price on shares of The Western Union in a research note on Sunday, October 15th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $19.00 target price on shares of The Western Union in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of The Western Union from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Seven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $19.59.

In other news, EVP Jean Claude Farah sold 50,813 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.50, for a total value of $1,092,479.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 152,362 shares in the company, valued at $3,275,783. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, insider Amintore Schenkel sold 15,600 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, January 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $21.99, for a total transaction of $343,044.00. Following the completion of the transaction, 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. Insiders sold 83,931 shares of company stock valued at $1,794,643 over the last 90 days. 1.10% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WU. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ raised its stake in shares of The Western Union by 53.9% during the third quarter. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ now owns 2,810,853 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $53,968,000 after acquiring an additional 984,900 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership raised its stake in shares of The Western Union by 412.9% during the second quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 1,212,000 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $23,089,000 after acquiring an additional 975,700 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of The Western Union by 2.3% during the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 41,834,190 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $796,941,000 after acquiring an additional 926,405 shares in the last quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp purchased a new position in shares of The Western Union in the third quarter worth $16,772,000. Finally, Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC increased its stake in shares of The Western Union by 34.2% in the second quarter. Thompson Siegel & Walmsley LLC now owns 2,776,892 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $52,899,000 after buying an additional 708,107 shares during the period.

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About The Western Union

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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