National Bank Financial upgraded shares of BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) from a sector perform rating to an outperform rating in a research report released on Thursday, The Fly reports.

A number of other brokerages have also commented on BCE. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a hold rating and issued a $60.00 price target on shares of BCE in a research note on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of BCE from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $52.00 price target for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 4th. 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 note on Friday, August 4th. Morgan Stanley reduced their price target on shares of BCE from $62.00 to $60.00 and set an equal weight rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, BidaskClub upgraded shares of BCE from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note on Saturday, August 26th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $56.83.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) traded up $0.31 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $47.45. 793,520 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 675,297. The company has a market cap of $42,721.66, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.39, a P/E/G ratio of 5.14 and a beta of 0.34. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.16, a quick ratio of 0.36 and a current ratio of 0.40. BCE has a 1-year low of $41.83 and a 1-year high of $48.27.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.65 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by ($0.02). BCE had a return on equity of 20.80% and a net margin of 12.78%. The company had revenue of $5.70 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.65 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.94 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts anticipate that BCE will post 2.64 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Investors of record on Friday, December 15th will be issued a $0.558 dividend. This represents a $2.23 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.70%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 14th. BCE’s payout ratio is 93.50%.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. SG Americas Securities LLC boosted its holdings in shares of BCE by 0.7% in the first quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 2,951 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $131,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the last quarter. Camarda Financial Advisors LLC boosted its holdings in shares of BCE by 0.5% in the second quarter. Camarda Financial Advisors LLC now owns 2,964 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $133,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the last quarter. AT Bancorp purchased a new position in shares of BCE in the second quarter worth approximately $149,000. Howland Capital Management LLC purchased a new position in shares of BCE in the third quarter worth approximately $202,000. Finally, Adell Harriman & Carpenter Inc. purchased a new position in shares of BCE in the second quarter worth approximately $203,000. 43.02% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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