Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note released on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management's successful cost-reduction initiatives have helped it in accomplishing remarkable gross margin expansion and EBITDA growth over the quarters. The company aims to focus on improving customer retention by providing better service and higher value solutions and extend its geographic footprint through opportunistic acquisitions. The company expects yield momentum to continue in its solid waste lines of business in the future. Management also reaffirmed its bullish guidance for 2017. However, continued decline in average recycling commodity prices and recycling volumes remain headwinds. The pricing environment remains challenging and highly competitive due to aggressive bidding by smaller competitors. The company also missed on second-quarter earnings despite top-line growth. Waste Management underperformed the industry year to date. Evolving rules and regulations often serve as deterrents as well.”

WM has been the topic of a number of other research reports. KeyCorp lifted their target price on Waste Management from $50.00 to $65.00 and gave the company an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, May 11th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on Waste Management from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 28th. Stifel Nicolaus lifted their target price on Waste Management from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. BMO Capital Markets began coverage on Waste Management in a research report on Thursday, June 29th. They issued an outperform rating and a $81.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. lifted their target price on Waste Management from $77.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. Waste Management presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $75.24.

Waste Management (WM) opened at 75.15 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average is $74.07 and its 200 day moving average is $72.56. Waste Management has a 12 month low of $61.08 and a 12 month high of $76.00. The firm has a market cap of $33.07 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.74 and a beta of 0.71.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The business services provider reported $0.81 EPS for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81. Waste Management had a return on equity of 25.07% and a net margin of 9.18%. The company had revenue of $3.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.62 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.74 earnings per share. Waste Management’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Waste Management will post $3.19 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, Director John C. Pope sold 453 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.38, for a total transaction of $33,694.14. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 51,470 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,828,338.60. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CEO James C. Fish, Jr. sold 3,500 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.19, for a total value of $252,665.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 151,162 shares in the company, valued at $10,912,384.78. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 7,940 shares of company stock worth $575,603 over the last three months. Insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 1.3% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 134,751 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $9,826,000 after buying an additional 1,680 shares during the last quarter. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 1.6% in the first quarter. Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co. now owns 12,437 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $907,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the last quarter. Creative Planning raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 10.0% in the first quarter. Creative Planning now owns 56,478 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $4,118,000 after buying an additional 5,151 shares during the last quarter. Charter Trust Co. raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 1.6% in the first quarter. Charter Trust Co. now owns 5,799 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $423,000 after buying an additional 90 shares during the last quarter. Finally, CHURCHILL MANAGEMENT Corp raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 4.2% in the first quarter. CHURCHILL MANAGEMENT Corp now owns 278,733 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $20,325,000 after buying an additional 11,138 shares during the last quarter. 75.26% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Waste Management Company Profile

Waste Management, Inc (WM) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is a provider of waste management environmental services. The Company’s segments include Solid Waste and Other. The Company’s Solid Waste segment includes its solid waste business. The Other segment includes its Strategic Business Solutions (WMSBS) organization; its landfill gas-to-energy operations and third-party subcontract and administration services managed by its Energy and Environmental Services and WM Renewable Energy organizations; its recycling brokerage services, and its service offerings and solutions, such as portable self-storage and long distance moving services, fluorescent lamp recycling and interests it holds in oil and gas producing properties.

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