Maple Capital Management Inc. lowered its position in shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) by 12.7% in the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The firm owned 9,362 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 1,366 shares during the period. Maple Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in BCE were worth $370,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors have also recently modified their holdings of the company. SG Americas Securities LLC grew its holdings in shares of BCE by 1,649.6% during the 3rd quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 43,739 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,772,000 after purchasing an additional 41,239 shares during the period. Virtu Financial LLC grew its holdings in shares of BCE by 153.2% during the 4th quarter. Virtu Financial LLC now owns 27,386 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,083,000 after purchasing an additional 16,572 shares during the period. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of BCE during the 3rd quarter worth about $3,994,000. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. boosted its holdings in BCE by 184.2% in the 4th quarter. Connor Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. now owns 3,993,028 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $157,669,000 after acquiring an additional 2,588,027 shares during the period. Finally, Lincluden Management Ltd. purchased a new position in BCE in the 4th quarter worth approximately $77,553,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 44.10% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities analysts have weighed in on BCE shares. National Bank Financial cut BCE from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a report on Friday, January 4th. 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. Finally, Zacks Investment Research cut BCE from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $46.33.

NYSE BCE opened at $44.17 on Friday. The company has a market capitalization of $39.68 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.30, a P/E/G ratio of 4.78 and a beta of 0.46. BCE Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $38.75 and a fifty-two week high of $44.86. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 0.56 and a quick ratio of 0.51.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.67 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.66 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $6.22 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $6.19 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 18.87% and a net margin of 12.30%. BCE’s quarterly revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business earned $0.82 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that BCE Inc. will post 2.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.604 per share. This is a boost from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. This represents a $2.42 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.47%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, March 14th. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is 83.39%.

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BCE Profile

BCE Inc, a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada. The company operates through three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers integrated digital wireless voice and data communications products and services.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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