Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Wednesday. They currently have $51.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “BCE’s subsidiary, Bell Canada leads the Canadian broadband communications market through its recent launch of Home Hub 3000 WiFi services with Wireless 4K Whole Home PVR from Fibe TV. Increasing deployment of Gigabit Fibe , 4G LTE mobile networks, upcoming 5G networks, IP phone services and post-paid businesses should help the company gain customers. BCE’s recent acquisition of Q9 Networks fully should boost cloud suite.However, BCE’s strategic moves to enhance employee skills, increase capital investments and reduce expenditures though impressive, may impact the company’s financials and growth prospects if not executed properly. Moreover, stringent regulatory measures, decline in network access services lines, price competition, exposure to labor union issues covered by collective bargaining agreements leading to work disruptions and higher labor costs, operational risks and construction and launch delays are major risks.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on BCE. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued an outperform rating and issued a $61.00 target price on shares of BCE in a research note on Thursday, June 9th. Citigroup Inc. increased their target price on BCE from $62.00 to $63.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 19th. Desjardins reissued a hold rating and issued a $64.00 target price on shares of BCE in a research note on Wednesday, August 10th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a buy rating and issued a $65.00 target price on shares of BCE in a research note on Friday, August 5th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued an overweight rating and issued a $66.00 target price (up previously from $62.00) on shares of BCE in a research note on Sunday, August 7th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $57.30.

Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

Shares of BCE (NYSE:BCE) traded down 0.31% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $45.31. The company had a trading volume of 94,439 shares. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.79 and its 200-day moving average is $46.74. BCE has a 12-month low of $35.96 and a 12-month high of $49.03. The firm has a market capitalization of $39.40 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.91 and a beta of 0.40.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 4th. The company reported $0.94 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.91 by $0.03. BCE had a return on equity of 22.89% and a net margin of 13.02%. The business had revenue of $5.34 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.10 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.87 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that BCE will post $2.67 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, October 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.52 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $2.08 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.58%. BCE’s payout ratio is currently 88.14%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. TD Asset Management Inc. boosted its stake in BCE by 2.5% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 19,024,630 shares of the company’s stock valued at $895,603,000 after buying an additional 463,198 shares during the last quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. boosted its position in shares of BCE by 1.7% in the second quarter. CIBC World Markets Inc. now owns 15,513,050 shares of the company’s stock valued at $733,922,000 after buying an additional 257,656 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its position in shares of BCE by 3.8% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,488,432 shares of the company’s stock valued at $591,001,000 after buying an additional 459,100 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP boosted its position in shares of BCE by 0.8% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 12,303,401 shares of the company’s stock valued at $562,913,000 after buying an additional 93,906 shares in the last quarter. Finally, 1832 Asset Management L.P. boosted its position in shares of BCE by 3.4% in the first quarter. 1832 Asset Management L.P. now owns 9,724,089 shares of the company’s stock valued at $659,196,000 after buying an additional 318,919 shares in the last quarter. 44.48% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

BCE Company Profile

BCE Inc is a communications company. The Company provides a range of broadband communications and content services to consumer, residential, business and government customers in Canada. The Company offers various services under the Bell and Bell Aliant brands, such as fiber-based Internet protocol television (IPTV) and high-speed Internet services, home phone and business network and communications services.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:BCE

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