BCE (BCE) Lifted to Buy at Scotiabank

Scotiabank upgraded shares of BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) from a sector perform rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday morning, The Fly reports.

Separately, Edward Jones upgraded shares of BCE from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, August 13th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $56.00.

BCE stock opened at $39.05 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.10, a current ratio of 0.50 and a quick ratio of 0.46. BCE has a 52-week low of $38.88 and a 52-week high of $49.06. The company has a market cap of $36.39 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.08, a PEG ratio of 4.33 and a beta of 0.29.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.86 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.19. BCE had a net margin of 12.00% and a return on equity of 18.67%. The firm had revenue of $5.79 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.81 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.89 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that BCE will post 2.67 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 14th will be paid a $0.58 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 13th. This represents a $2.32 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.94%. This is a positive change from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. BCE’s payout ratio is currently 88.55%.

Large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Morgan Stanley increased its stake in shares of BCE by 7.4% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 2,204,188 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $89,248,000 after acquiring an additional 152,297 shares in the last quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp increased its stake in shares of BCE by 26.3% in the 2nd quarter. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp now owns 2,215,067 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $117,930,000 after acquiring an additional 461,800 shares in the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of BCE by 40.5% in the 2nd quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 276,095 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $11,180,000 after acquiring an additional 79,569 shares in the last quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia increased its stake in shares of BCE by 7.5% in the 2nd quarter. Bank of Nova Scotia now owns 7,634,042 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $308,683,000 after acquiring an additional 531,998 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its stake in shares of BCE by 18.1% in the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 40,710 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,648,000 after acquiring an additional 6,230 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 42.78% of the company’s stock.

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. The company operates through three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers integrated digital wireless voice and data communications products and services.

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