BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was downgraded by equities research analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Thursday.

Several other equities analysts have also commented on BCE. Barclays PLC started coverage on shares of BCE in a research report on Tuesday, March 21st. They set an “overweight” rating and a $47.00 price objective for the company. Citigroup Inc. raised shares of BCE from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 6th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 3rd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity set a $60.00 target price on shares of BCE and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 16th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $59.33.

Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

BCE (NYSE BCE) opened at 44.61 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $40.13 billion, a PE ratio of 17.92 and a beta of 0.38. BCE has a 12 month low of $41.83 and a 12 month high of $49.03. The company has a 50-day moving average of $45.01 and a 200-day moving average of $44.39.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.66 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.65 by $0.01. BCE had a net margin of 13.36% and a return on equity of 22.03%. The business had revenue of $5.38 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.37 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.85 earnings per share. BCE’s quarterly revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that BCE will post $2.54 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, July 15th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be paid a $0.5316 dividend. This represents a $2.13 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.77%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is presently 85.89%.

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Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Comerica Bank increased its position in BCE by 3.6% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 91,660 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $4,064,000 after buying an additional 3,173 shares in the last quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its position in BCE by 0.7% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 46,401 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $2,051,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC increased its position in BCE by 63.9% in the first quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 4,762 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $215,000 after buying an additional 1,857 shares in the last quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. increased its position in BCE by 28.9% in the first quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 2,417,270 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $187,289,000 after buying an additional 541,437 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new position in BCE during the first quarter valued at approximately $799,000. 44.21% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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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