The BCE Inc. (BCE) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

The BCE Inc. (BCE) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report released on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $51.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 13.92% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “BCE’s subsidiary, Bell Canada leads the Canadian broadband communications market through its recent launch of Home Hub 3000 WiFi services with Wireless 4K Whole Home PVR from Fibe TV. Increasing deployment of Gigabit Fibe , 4G LTE mobile networks, upcoming 5G networks, IP phone services and post-paid businesses should help the company gain customers. BCE’s recent acquisition of Q9 Networks fully should boost cloud suite.However, BCE’s strategic moves to enhance employee skills, increase capital investments and reduce expenditures though impressive, may impact the company’s financials and growth prospects if not executed properly. Moreover, stringent regulatory measures, decline in network access services lines, price competition, exposure to labor union issues covered by collective bargaining agreements leading to work disruptions and higher labor costs, operational risks and construction and launch delays are major risks.”

BCE has been the subject of a number of other reports. Citigroup Inc. raised their target price on shares of BCE from $62.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated an “overweight” rating and set a $66.00 target price (up from $62.00) on shares of BCE in a report on Sunday, August 7th. Desjardins restated a “hold” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of BCE in a report on Wednesday, August 10th. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 target price on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, August 5th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada restated an “outperform” rating and set a $61.00 target price on shares of BCE in a report on Thursday, June 9th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $57.30.

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BCE (NYSE:BCE) traded down 1.34% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $44.77. The stock had a trading volume of 1,095,288 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.60 and its 200 day moving average is $46.73. The stock has a market cap of $38.93 billion, a PE ratio of 18.61 and a beta of 0.40. BCE has a one year low of $35.96 and a one year high of $49.03.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, August 4th. The company reported $0.94 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.03. The firm earned $5.34 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $4.10 billion. BCE had a net margin of 13.02% and a return on equity of 22.89%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.87 earnings per share. Equities research analysts expect that BCE will post $2.66 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, October 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a $0.52 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $2.08 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.65%. BCE’s payout ratio is 88.14%.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Aviance Capital Management LLC increased its stake in BCE by 55.1% in the second quarter. Aviance Capital Management LLC now owns 596,489 shares of the company’s stock worth $28,220,000 after buying an additional 211,909 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc increased its position in BCE by 2.3% in the first quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,421,628 shares of the company’s stock worth $65,055,000 after buying an additional 31,633 shares in the last quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp increased its position in BCE by 15.7% in the second quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 3,015,794 shares of the company’s stock worth $184,386,000 after buying an additional 408,989 shares in the last quarter. Brown Advisory Inc. acquired a new position in BCE during the second quarter worth $293,000. Finally, Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. increased its position in BCE by 9.6% in the second quarter. Ferguson Wellman Capital Management Inc. now owns 161,873 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,658,000 after buying an additional 14,155 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 44.48% of the company’s stock.

BCE Company Profile

BCE Inc is a communications company. The Company provides a range of broadband communications and content services to consumer, residential, business and government customers in Canada. The Company offers various services under the Bell and Bell Aliant brands, such as fiber-based Internet protocol television (IPTV) and high-speed Internet services, home phone and business network and communications services.

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