Shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) have been assigned an average rating of “Buy” from the ten brokerages that are currently covering the company, MarketBeat reports. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation, five have issued a buy recommendation and one has issued a strong buy recommendation on the company. The average 1-year price objective among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $56.00.
A number of equities research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Barclays raised their price objective on shares of BCE from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of BCE in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Bank of America assumed coverage on shares of BCE in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $54.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of BCE from $60.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th.
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can grew its stake in BCE by 5.2% in the 3rd quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 8,169,005 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $381,970,000 after acquiring an additional 405,067 shares during the period. APG Asset Management N.V. grew its stake in BCE by 39.4% in the 4th quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 6,260,116 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $251,237,000 after acquiring an additional 1,768,100 shares during the period. Mackenzie Financial Corp grew its stake in BCE by 360.1% in the 4th quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 5,320,857 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $255,454,000 after acquiring an additional 4,164,461 shares during the period. Acadian Asset Management LLC grew its stake in BCE by 24.8% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 3,471,341 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $166,662,000 after acquiring an additional 689,362 shares during the period. Finally, Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its stake in BCE by 1.4% in the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 3,170,049 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $148,454,000 after acquiring an additional 44,251 shares during the period. 44.62% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.96 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.96 billion. BCE had a net margin of 12.25% and a return on equity of 19.85%. BCE’s quarterly revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.76 EPS. research analysts anticipate that BCE will post 2.74 EPS for the current year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.601 per share. This is a boost from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.39%. BCE’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 89.49%.
BCE announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, February 8th that permits the company to buyback $175.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the utilities provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are generally a sign that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.
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BCE Company Profile
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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