Investors Buy Large Volume of BCE Call Options (NYSE:BCE)

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was the target of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Stock traders acquired 5,498 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of approximately 10,081% compared to the typical volume of 54 call options.

Several research firms have weighed in on BCE. Desjardins cut BCE from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 3rd. Barclays restated an “average” rating and set a $66.00 price target on shares of BCE in a report on Sunday, May 5th. BMO Capital Markets restated an “average” rating and set a $62.00 price target on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, April 5th. Citigroup cut BCE from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, Argus upgraded BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 price target for the company in a report on Friday, March 8th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $55.00.

NYSE BCE opened at $46.88 on Thursday. The company has a market cap of $42.00 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.69, a PEG ratio of 5.11 and a beta of 0.42. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33, a current ratio of 0.55 and a quick ratio of 0.51. BCE has a 1-year low of $38.75 and a 1-year high of $47.14.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.58 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58. The firm had revenue of $5.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.75 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 18.66% and a net margin of 12.56%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.80 EPS. As a group, research analysts forecast that BCE will post 2.61 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be issued a $0.592 dividend. This is a boost from BCE’s previous dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. BCE’s payout ratio is 87.82%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Signaturefd LLC boosted its holdings in shares of BCE by 9.7% in the 1st quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 2,781 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $123,000 after purchasing an additional 247 shares during the period. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in shares of BCE by 1.0% during the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 25,367 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,003,000 after acquiring an additional 253 shares during the last quarter. Intrust Bank NA lifted its stake in shares of BCE by 5.2% during the 4th quarter. Intrust Bank NA now owns 5,303 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $210,000 after acquiring an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. lifted its stake in shares of BCE by 8.5% during the 1st quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 3,475 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $154,000 after acquiring an additional 271 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Probity Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in shares of BCE by 2.1% during the 1st quarter. Probity Advisors Inc. now owns 18,336 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $814,000 after acquiring an additional 381 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 43.76% of the company’s stock.

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About BCE

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.

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