Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Thursday. The brokerage presently has a $79.00 target price on the business services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 13.25% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Waste Connections has outperformed the industry year to date. With prime location of disposal sites within competitive markets, Waste Connections has optimal asset positioning to generate higher profitability. The merger of Waste Connections with Progressive Waste Solutions has arguably created an industry leader with enhanced scale and a stronger financial profile. The combined entity is expected to generate approximately $50 million in annualized SG&A cost savings within the first 12 months after closing. An experienced management team and a decentralized operating strategy remain additional tailwinds. A vertically integrated services portfolio offers a competitive advantage. Waste Connections also aims to leverage its franchise-based platforms to expand customer base beyond the exclusive market territories. However, stringent health and safety laws, seasonal factors and stiff competition remain headwinds.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on WCN. Royal Bank Of Canada set a $102.00 target price on Waste Connections and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, June 19th. Stifel Nicolaus upped their target price on Waste Connections from $66.50 to $75.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. Barclays PLC restated a “buy” rating and set a $68.00 target price on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Credit Suisse Group restated a “buy” rating and set a $75.00 target price on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Finally, Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated an “outperform” rating and set a $70.00 target price (up from $64.00) on shares of Waste Connections in a research note on Friday, June 23rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, nine have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $72.48.

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) traded down 0.85% during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $69.17. The company had a trading volume of 337,808 shares. The stock has a market cap of $18.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 58.82 and a beta of 0.23. Waste Connections has a 12 month low of $47.81 and a 12 month high of $70.76. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $67.59 and a 200-day moving average of $63.79.

Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 25th. The business services provider reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $1.18 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.15 billion. Waste Connections had a return on equity of 9.19% and a net margin of 7.11%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 61.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.66 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts expect that Waste Connections will post $2.13 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Waste Connections declared that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback plan on Wednesday, August 2nd that permits the company to repurchase 13,180,000 shares. This repurchase authorization permits the business services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

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In other news, CFO Worthing Jackman sold 30,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.00, for a total value of $1,950,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director Edward E. Guillet sold 11,500 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.27, for a total value of $750,605.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 69,500 shares of company stock valued at $4,521,285 over the last quarter. 0.68% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. increased its holdings in Waste Connections by 55.8% in the second quarter. Thompson Davis & CO. Inc. now owns 1,561 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $101,000 after purchasing an additional 559 shares during the period. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. increased its holdings in Waste Connections by 10.1% in the second quarter. Independent Portfolio Consultants Inc. now owns 1,833 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $118,000 after purchasing an additional 168 shares during the period. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC increased its holdings in Waste Connections by 50.0% in the second quarter. Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC now owns 2,107 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $136,000 after purchasing an additional 702 shares during the period. US Bancorp DE increased its holdings in Waste Connections by 14.3% in the second quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 2,171 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $140,000 after purchasing an additional 271 shares during the period. Finally, Creative Planning increased its holdings in Waste Connections by 223.5% in the second quarter. Creative Planning now owns 2,397 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $154,000 after purchasing an additional 1,656 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 82.59% of the company’s stock.

Waste Connections Company Profile

Waste Connections, Inc is a solid waste services company in North America. The Company provides waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services in markets in the United States and Canada. The Company operates through six segments: Southern segment, Western segment, Eastern segment, Canada segment, Central segment and E&P segment.

Analyst Recommendations for Waste Connections (NYSE:WCN)

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