Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $51.00 target price on the utilities provider’s stock.
According to Zacks, “BCE's wireless segment is expected to benefit from the postpaid business as it continues to enjoy solid customer additions. Investments in network coverage, customer retention, lucrative data plans and launch of new handsets will likely drive subscriber base expansion. The company continues to leverage from FibeTV and FibreOP TV growth, price hike, and improved business market. On the wireline front, it expects financial results to improve through 2019 and beyond with increase in net revenue generation units. However, BCE’s traditional telephony service faces a decline due to higher wireless substitution. The successful implementation of BCE’s six core goals is the most critical factor in determining its future profitability. The execution requires enhanced employee skills and more capital investments, which puts strain on margins.”
A number of other brokerages have also commented on BCE. Scotiabank reissued a buy rating on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, August 16th. Desjardins lowered shares of BCE to a hold rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. BMO Capital Markets reissued an average rating and issued a $63.00 price target on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, August 2nd. TD Securities raised shares of BCE from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $44.38 price target on the stock in a report on Tuesday, June 18th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of BCE from an overweight rating to a neutral rating and set a $60.00 price target on the stock. in a report on Monday, July 8th. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. BCE presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $55.73.
BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 1st. The utilities provider reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $5.93 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.90 billion. BCE had a net margin of 12.51% and a return on equity of 19.15%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.86 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that BCE will post 2.69 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, September 16th will be paid a $0.601 dividend. This is a boost from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.59. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 13th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.94%. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is 87.45%.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Signaturefd LLC boosted its stake in shares of BCE by 9.7% in the 1st quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 2,781 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after purchasing an additional 247 shares in the last quarter. Grove Bank & Trust boosted its stake in shares of BCE by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 22,486 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,022,000 after purchasing an additional 261 shares in the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. boosted its stake in shares of BCE by 8.5% in the 1st quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 3,475 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $154,000 after purchasing an additional 271 shares in the last quarter. Icon Wealth Partners LLC boosted its stake in shares of BCE by 4.2% in the 2nd quarter. Icon Wealth Partners LLC now owns 6,943 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $316,000 after purchasing an additional 278 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cordasco Financial Network boosted its stake in shares of BCE by 2.4% in the 2nd quarter. Cordasco Financial Network now owns 12,438 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $566,000 after purchasing an additional 293 shares in the last quarter. 43.92% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
BCE Inc, a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada. It operates in three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers wireless voice and data communications products and services, including 40 live and on-demand channels on smartphones and tablets; roaming services; push-to-talk, field service management, worker safety, and mobility management solutions; and asset management, smart buildings, smart cities, fleet management, and other Internet of Things services.
Further Reading: What is the Quick Ratio?
For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com
Receive News & Ratings for BCE Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for BCE and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.