Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Seasonality is  likely to lower predictably in Waste Connections' revenue generation and increase operating risks. Stringent environmental, health and safety laws have been hindering the company’s operations and raising its operating costs. High debt may limit the company’s future expansion and worsen its risk profile. Foreign currency exchange rate risks is another headwind. Despite such headwinds, we appreciate Waste Connections’ focus on secondary and rural markets to garner a higher local market share. It has optimal asset positioning to generate higher profitability. An experienced management team, decentralized operating strategy and financial strength remain additional tailwinds. Acquisitions have been contributing to Waste Connections’ growth. The company is consistent in rewarding its shareholders. In the past year, the company outperformed its industry growth.”

A number of other analysts also recently weighed in on WCN. TD Securities set a $87.00 price target on shares of Waste Connections and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 28th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded shares of Waste Connections to a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Tuesday, December 4th. KeyCorp started coverage on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Monday, February 4th. They issued an “overweight” rating and a $94.00 price objective for the company. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Waste Connections from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, February 4th. Finally, Bank of America increased their price objective on shares of Waste Connections from $80.00 to $88.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 14th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $88.80.

Waste Connections stock traded up $0.43 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $88.30. The company had a trading volume of 63,814 shares, compared to its average volume of 594,958. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65, a current ratio of 1.27 and a quick ratio of 1.27. Waste Connections has a 52 week low of $70.28 and a 52 week high of $88.07. The company has a market cap of $22.73 billion, a PE ratio of 35.02, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.95 and a beta of 0.24.

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, February 13th. The business services provider reported $0.63 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.61 by $0.02. Waste Connections had a net margin of 11.11% and a return on equity of 10.46%. The firm had revenue of $1.26 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.23 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.52 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 9.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Waste Connections will post 2.81 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of WCN. Lunia Capital LP bought a new stake in Waste Connections during the 4th quarter worth about $7,205,000. Norges Bank bought a new stake in Waste Connections during the 4th quarter worth about $378,868,000. CIBC Asset Management Inc grew its holdings in Waste Connections by 102.5% during the 4th quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 2,045,628 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $151,877,000 after acquiring an additional 1,035,247 shares during the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp grew its holdings in Waste Connections by 201.3% during the 4th quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 1,149,133 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $85,323,000 after acquiring an additional 767,796 shares during the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC grew its holdings in Waste Connections by 37.3% during the 4th quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,299,479 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $170,713,000 after acquiring an additional 625,254 shares during the last quarter. 84.90% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Waste Connections Company Profile

Waste Connections, Inc provides waste collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling services in the United States and Canada. The company operates through six segments: Southern, Western, Eastern, Canada, Central, and Exploration and Production (E&P). It offers collection services to residential, commercial, municipal, industrial, and E&P customers; landfill disposal services; and recycling services for various recyclable materials, including compost, cardboard, mixed paper, plastic containers, glass bottles, and ferrous and aluminum metals.

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