BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

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. Thus, 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.”

A number of other brokerages also recently commented on BCE. Citigroup Inc. increased their price target on BCE from $62.00 to $63.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $66.00 price target (up from $62.00) on shares of BCE in a research report on Sunday, August 7th. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and set a $61.00 price target on shares of BCE in a research report on Thursday, June 9th. Desjardins reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $64.00 price target on shares of BCE in a research report on Wednesday, August 10th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of BCE in a research report on Friday, August 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. BCE presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $57.40.

Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

BCE (NYSE:BCE) opened at 45.66 on Wednesday. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $47.43 and its 200-day moving average price is $46.60. The firm has a market capitalization of $39.70 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.00 and a beta of 0.43. BCE has a 12-month low of $35.96 and a 12-month high of $49.03.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 4th. The company reported $0.94 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.03. The company earned $5.34 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.10 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 22.89% and a net margin of 13.02%. BCE’s revenue was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $0.87 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts anticipate that BCE will post $2.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, October 15th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a $0.52 dividend. This represents a $2.08 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 4.56%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th. BCE’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 88.56%.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in BCE. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group raised its stake in BCE by 0.5% in the second quarter. Rehmann Capital Advisory Group now owns 4,907 shares of the company’s stock valued at $232,000 after buying an additional 23 shares in the last quarter. Bremer Trust National Association raised its stake in BCE by 0.4% in the second quarter. Bremer Trust National Association now owns 9,191 shares of the company’s stock valued at $435,000 after buying an additional 41 shares in the last quarter. WFG Advisors LP raised its stake in BCE by 0.8% in the second quarter. WFG Advisors LP now owns 5,675 shares of the company’s stock valued at $268,000 after buying an additional 44 shares in the last quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. raised its stake in BCE by 1.2% in the second quarter. Moors & Cabot Inc. now owns 9,518 shares of the company’s stock valued at $447,000 after buying an additional 111 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp raised its stake in BCE by 0.4% in the first quarter. Peapack Gladstone Financial Corp now owns 31,116 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,417,000 after buying an additional 117 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 44.48% of the company’s stock.

About BCE

BCE Inc is a communications company. The Company provides residential, business and wholesale customers with a range of solutions to all their communications needs, including wireless, high-speed Internet, Internet protocol television (IPTV) and satellite TV, business Internet protocol (IP) broadband, and information and communications technology (ICT) services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:BCE

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