Barclays Reaffirms “Average” Rating for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

Barclays reiterated their average rating on shares of BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) in a research report sent to investors on Sunday, May 5th, Stock Target Advisor reports. Barclays currently has a $66.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research cut BCE from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Argus upgraded BCE from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $48.00 price objective for the company in a report on Friday, March 8th. Citigroup cut BCE from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. BMO Capital Markets restated an average rating and set a $62.00 price objective on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, April 5th. Finally, Desjardins cut BCE from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Friday, May 3rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $55.00.

BCE traded down $0.14 on Friday, hitting $45.13. 69,388 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 554,370. The company has a current ratio of 0.55, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33. BCE has a one year low of $38.75 and a one year high of $45.71. The company has a market capitalization of $40.80 billion, a PE ratio of 16.65, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.94 and a beta of 0.46.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.58 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.58. The business had revenue of $5.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.75 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 18.66% and a net margin of 12.56%. The company’s revenue was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.80 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that BCE will post 2.62 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 14th will be issued a $0.592 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. This is a positive change from BCE’s previous dividend of $0.56. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is currently 87.82%.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its position in BCE by 25.5% during the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 401,122 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $16,253,000 after purchasing an additional 81,511 shares in the last quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB purchased a new position in BCE during the third quarter worth approximately $329,000. Legal & General Group Plc boosted its position in BCE by 2.3% during the third quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,504,766 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $60,918,000 after purchasing an additional 33,624 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in BCE by 2.8% during the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 8,072,939 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $327,115,000 after purchasing an additional 220,625 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Marshall Wace LLP purchased a new position in BCE during the third quarter worth approximately $781,000. 43.80% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

BCE Company Profile

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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