Western Union shares drop to 3-year low
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Western Union tumbled to their lowest point in more than three years on Wednesday as the company lowered its full-year earnings forecast.
THE SPARK: On Tuesday Western Union cut its earnings guidance to a range of $1.60 to $1.63 per share from a previous projection of $1.68 to $1.72 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of $1.75 per share.
For the third quarter, the company reported earnings of 45 cents per share on revenue of $1.42 billion. Wall Street predicted earnings of 45 cents per share on revenue of $1.47 billion.
Western Union also announced that the Stewart Stockdale, president of global consumer financial services, has left the company.
THE ANALYSIS: Citi Investment Research's Ashwin Shirvaikar said that Western Union's third-quarter performance was disappointing, as it deals with increased competition and difficult economic conditions. The analyst said that the revised full-year forecast implies slower earnings per share growth this year and likely declines in earnings per share next year.
Weakening fundamentals and announced strategic changes — like price cuts — may add uncertainty to future prospects and feed into fears about the long-term competitive positioning of the business, Shirvaikar added.
The analyst maintained a $24 price target and "Buy" rating.
Thomas McCrohan of Janney Capital Markets lowered the company's price target to $20 from $24 and kept a "Buy" rating. In a client note the analyst said that while Western Union reported decent third-quarter results, its outlook is a bit lackluster.
SHARE ACTION: Western Union Co.'s shares fell $5.03, or 28.1 percent, to $12.90 in midday trading. The shares hit $12.48 earlier in the session, their lowest point since March 2009.