Waste Management (WM) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Sunday, January 21st. The firm presently has a $99.00 target price on the business services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 22.87% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management is focusing on the core business activities to instill price and cost discipline in order to achieve better margins. The acquisition of Deffenbaugh Disposal will enable Waste Management to extend its geographic footprint and make a foray in the attractive market of Kansas City, where it has limited presence. A steady stream of such accretive acquisitions is likely to drive earnings for the company in the future. The company's successful cost-reduction initiatives have helped it in accomplishing remarkable gross margin expansion and EBITDA growth over the quarters. With strong yield and cost performance in the third quarter, the company has lifted its guidance for 2017. Waste Management has also outperformed the industry in the last three months. However, stringent government regulations are likely to erode profitability as compliance with such regulations increases operating costs.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the company from $80.00 to $95.00 in a research report on Monday, December 11th. Macquarie upgraded shares of Waste Management from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. KeyCorp boosted their price objective on shares of Waste Management from $80.00 to $84.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, October 13th. Bank of America cut their price objective on shares of Waste Management from $85.00 to $83.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $85.00 price objective on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Friday, October 13th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $86.00.

Shares of Waste Management (WM) traded up $0.47 on Friday, reaching $80.57. 3,761,946 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,070,000. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60, a current ratio of 0.71 and a quick ratio of 0.68. Waste Management has a 12 month low of $69.55 and a 12 month high of $89.73. The company has a market capitalization of $34,980.00, a PE ratio of 25.91, a PEG ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.70.

Waste Management announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share buyback plan on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to buyback $1.25 billion in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the business services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are typically a sign that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 387 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.30, for a total value of $34,172.10. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 30,673 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,708,425.90. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Barry H. Caldwell sold 1,650 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.10, for a total transaction of $133,815.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.19% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. FTB Advisors Inc. lifted its position in shares of Waste Management by 4.3% during the second quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 1,585 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 65 shares during the last quarter. Atlantic Trust LLC lifted its position in shares of Waste Management by 7.6% during the second quarter. Atlantic Trust LLC now owns 3,820 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $172,000 after buying an additional 270 shares during the last quarter. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Waste Management during the second quarter valued at about $182,000. MHI Funds LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Waste Management during the fourth quarter valued at about $184,000. Finally, Horan Capital Advisors LLC. purchased a new stake in shares of Waste Management during the third quarter valued at about $186,000. 75.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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