Schafer Cullen Capital Management Inc. Reduces Holdings in BCE Inc. (BCE)

Schafer Cullen Capital Management Inc. decreased its stake in shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) by 1.6% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 3,625,947 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 57,348 shares during the period. BCE accounts for 2.0% of Schafer Cullen Capital Management Inc.’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 6th biggest position. Schafer Cullen Capital Management Inc.’s holdings in BCE were worth $174,082,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC purchased a new stake in shares of BCE in the third quarter valued at $116,000. Quantbot Technologies LP acquired a new position in shares of BCE during the third quarter worth approximately $190,000. Koch Industries Inc. acquired a new stake in BCE in the fourth quarter worth approximately $220,000. Cedar Hill Associates LLC acquired a new stake in BCE in the third quarter worth approximately $225,000. Finally, Advisory Services Network LLC lifted its position in BCE by 507.3% in the fourth quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,253 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $252,000 after purchasing an additional 4,388 shares during the period. 44.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE BCE) traded down $0.02 during trading hours on Tuesday, reaching $43.08. 71,318 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 968,925. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.43. BCE Inc. has a 52 week low of $42.96 and a 52 week high of $49.06. The firm has a market cap of $38,755.91, a P/E ratio of 17.96, a P/E/G ratio of 4.52 and a beta of 0.36.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.60 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.59 by $0.01. BCE had a net margin of 12.25% and a return on equity of 19.85%. The company had revenue of $5.96 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.96 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.76 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. analysts expect that BCE Inc. will post 2.73 EPS for the current year.

BCE announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, February 8th that permits the company to buyback $175.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the utilities provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.601 per share. This is an increase from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.40 annualized dividend and a yield of 5.58%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. BCE’s payout ratio is 100.00%.

A number of brokerages have recently commented on BCE. Zacks Investment Research upgraded BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $52.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Friday, February 2nd. Barclays increased their price objective on BCE from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 9th. Bank of America began coverage on BCE in a research report on Tuesday, November 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $54.00 price objective for the company. Finally, Desjardins downgraded BCE from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $56.00.

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BCE Company Profile

BCE Inc is a communications company. The Company’s segments include Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline and Bell Media. Its Bell Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data communications products and services to its residential, small and medium-sized business and large enterprise customers across Canada.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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