Desjardins Downgrades BCE (BCE) to Hold

Desjardins cut shares of BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Friday, Briefing.com Automated Import reports.

BCE has been the subject of several other reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BCE from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 29th. National Bank Financial lowered shares of BCE from an outperform rating to a sector perform rating in a research note on Friday, January 4th. Argus upgraded shares of BCE from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $48.00 price target for the company in a research note on Friday, March 8th. Citigroup lowered shares of BCE from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reissued an average rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of BCE in a research report on Friday, April 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $55.00.

Shares of BCE stock opened at $44.41 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 0.56 and a quick ratio of 0.51. The stock has a market capitalization of $39.92 billion, a P/E ratio of 16.39, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.78 and a beta of 0.46. BCE has a 1 year low of $38.75 and a 1 year high of $45.65.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.58. The company had revenue of $5.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.75 billion. BCE had a net margin of 12.56% and a return on equity of 18.47%. BCE’s quarterly revenue was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.80 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that BCE will post 2.65 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 15th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th were given a dividend of $0.604 per share. This represents a $2.42 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.44%. This is an increase from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, March 14th. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is 87.82%.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cpwm LLC grew its position in BCE by 72.8% during the 1st quarter. Cpwm LLC now owns 21,224 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $942,000 after purchasing an additional 8,944 shares during the last quarter. Outlook Wealth Advisors LLC grew its position in BCE by 372.4% during the 1st quarter. Outlook Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 13,018 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $578,000 after purchasing an additional 10,262 shares during the last quarter. Wrapmanager Inc. grew its position in BCE by 25.8% during the 1st quarter. Wrapmanager Inc. now owns 30,968 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,375,000 after purchasing an additional 6,342 shares during the last quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. grew its position in BCE by 12.2% during the 1st quarter. First Allied Advisory Services Inc. now owns 18,159 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $810,000 after purchasing an additional 1,980 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Alley Co LLC grew its position in BCE by 3.1% during the 1st quarter. Alley Co LLC now owns 73,233 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $3,251,000 after purchasing an additional 2,197 shares during the last quarter. 43.97% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About BCE

BCE Inc, a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada. It operates in three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers wireless voice and data communications products and services, including 40 live and on-demand channels on smartphones and tablets; roaming services; push-to-talk, field service management, worker safety, and mobility management solutions; and asset management, smart buildings, smart cities, fleet management, and other Internet of Things services.

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Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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