BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “BCE reported weak financial results in the second quarter of 2017. However, the company's strategic moves to enhance employee skills, increase capital investments and reduce expenditures looks impressive. Deployment of Gigabit Fibe, 4G LTE mobile networks, upcoming 5G networks, IP phone services and post-paid businesses should help the company gain customers. Buyout of Q9 Networks boosts the company's cloud suite and $854 million investment will aid its fiber-optics network suite. The buyout of Manitoba Telecom Services by BCE's arm, Bell Canada places Bell Canada as one of the largest mobile provider in Manitoba. On the flip side, BCE continues to face multiple problems such as stringent regulatory norms, loss in network access services lines, price competition, labor union issues, operational risks and construction delays.Over the past three months, share price of BCE inched up 5.65% but failed to beat the industry's 11.10% gain.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently commented on BCE. Canaccord Genuity set a $60.00 price target on shares of BCE and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 16th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of BCE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Argus started coverage on shares of BCE in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their price target on shares of BCE from $47.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. BCE presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $58.43.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) traded up 0.62% during mid-day trading on Monday, reaching $47.00. 385,145 shares of the company traded hands. BCE has a one year low of $41.83 and a one year high of $49.03. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $45.55 and its 200-day moving average price is $44.82. The firm has a market cap of $42.28 billion, a PE ratio of 18.00 and a beta of 0.36.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.65 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.02. BCE had a return on equity of 21.08% and a net margin of 12.85%. The business had revenue of $5.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.65 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.94 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that BCE will post $2.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. TD Asset Management Inc. raised its position in BCE by 3.7% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 18,546,068 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $833,976,000 after buying an additional 667,600 shares during the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its position in BCE by 1.9% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 13,247,536 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $584,936,000 after buying an additional 244,009 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in BCE by 3.6% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,274,108 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $543,445,000 after buying an additional 424,228 shares during the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its position in BCE by 6.2% in the second quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 7,763,938 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $348,772,000 after buying an additional 453,091 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in BCE by 9.0% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,839,144 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $302,769,000 after buying an additional 564,047 shares during the last quarter. 43.99% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About BCE

BCE Inc is a communications company. The Company’s segments include Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline and Bell Media. Its Bell Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data communications products and services to its residential, small and medium-sized business and large enterprise customers across Canada.

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