Waste Connections (WCN) Upgraded to “Hold” by Zacks Investment Research

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “With prime location of disposal sites within competitive markets, Waste Connections has optimal asset positioning to generate higher profitability. An experienced management team, decentralized operating strategy and financial strength remain additional tailwinds. Moreover, the merger with Progressive Waste Solutions has enhanced its scale of operations. In addition, a decentralized management enables it to identify and address customers’ needs on a real-time basis in a cost-effective manner. However, volatility in crude oil prices is expected to impair the profitability and creditworthiness of Waste Connections and adversely affect the level of investment and linear feet drilled in the basins where it operates. Seasonal factors, continuous changes to federal laws and stiff competition due to low barriers to entry remain additional challenges for the company. The stock also underperformed the industry in the last three months.”

WCN has been the topic of a number of other reports. Royal Bank of Canada raised their target price on shares of Waste Connections from $76.00 to $80.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $85.00 target price on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Thursday. KeyCorp reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $78.00 target price on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Bank of America assumed coverage on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. They issued a “buy” rating and a $80.00 target price on the stock. Finally, TD Securities raised their target price on shares of Waste Connections from $73.00 to $74.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, October 27th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $78.56.

Shares of Waste Connections (NYSE WCN) traded down $0.53 during trading on Friday, hitting $69.71. 786,678 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 730,622. Waste Connections has a 52-week low of $52.29 and a 52-week high of $74.20. The stock has a market capitalization of $18,518.14, a P/E ratio of 52.81, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.75 and a beta of 0.17. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.66, a quick ratio of 1.46 and a current ratio of 1.46.

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The business services provider reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.57 by $0.03. Waste Connections had a net margin of 7.68% and a return on equity of 9.59%. The firm had revenue of $1.21 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.19 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.72 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.2% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Waste Connections will post 2.13 EPS for the current year.

In other Waste Connections news, COO Darrell W. Chambliss sold 5,625 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, October 31st. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.99, for a total transaction of $399,318.75. Following the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 101,292 shares in the company, valued at $7,190,719.08. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Robert Davis sold 700 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, October 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $71.72, for a total transaction of $50,204.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.68% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of WCN. Achmea Investment Management B.V. grew its holdings in shares of Waste Connections by 50.0% in the second quarter. Achmea Investment Management B.V. now owns 10,653 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $686,000 after purchasing an additional 3,551 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Group LTD grew its holdings in shares of Waste Connections by 10.0% in the third quarter. BlackRock Group LTD now owns 532,022 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $39,741,000 after purchasing an additional 48,406 shares during the last quarter. R. M. Davis grew its holdings in shares of Waste Connections by 1.5% in the fourth quarter. R. M. Davis now owns 828,169 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $46,642,000 after purchasing an additional 12,305 shares during the last quarter. Swiss National Bank grew its holdings in shares of Waste Connections by 54.7% in the second quarter. Swiss National Bank now owns 961,659 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $61,950,000 after purchasing an additional 340,053 shares during the last quarter. Finally, LMR Partners LLP bought a new position in shares of Waste Connections in the second quarter worth approximately $17,833,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 82.90% of the company’s stock.

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Waste Connections Company Profile

Waste Connections, Inc is a solid waste services company in North America. The Company provides waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services in markets in the United States and Canada. The Company operates through six segments: Southern segment, Western segment, Eastern segment, Canada segment, Central segment and E&P segment.

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