State of Wisconsin Investment Board increased its stake in shares of BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) by 7.1% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 165,846 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 11,059 shares during the period. State of Wisconsin Investment Board’s holdings in BCE were worth $7,458,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors also recently made changes to their positions in the company. TD Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of BCE by 3.7% in the second quarter. TD Asset Management Inc. now owns 18,546,068 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $833,976,000 after buying an additional 667,600 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP raised its position in shares of BCE by 1.9% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 13,247,536 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $584,936,000 after buying an additional 244,009 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its position in shares of BCE by 3.6% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 12,274,108 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $543,445,000 after buying an additional 424,228 shares in the last quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can raised its position in shares of BCE by 6.2% in the second quarter. Great West Life Assurance Co. Can now owns 7,763,938 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $348,772,000 after buying an additional 453,091 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of BCE by 9.0% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,839,144 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $302,769,000 after buying an additional 564,047 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 42.96% of the company’s stock.

BCE, Inc. (BCE) opened at 47.53 on Monday. The company has a market capitalization of $42.79 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.62 and a beta of 0.36. BCE, Inc. has a 52-week low of $41.83 and a 52-week high of $48.35. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $46.49 and its 200-day moving average is $45.12.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.65 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by $0.02. BCE had a return on equity of 21.08% and a net margin of 12.85%. The business had revenue of $5.70 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.65 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $0.94 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts predict that BCE, Inc. will post $2.68 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, October 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.575 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. This is a positive change from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.53. This represents a $2.30 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.84%. BCE’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 87.30%.

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Several equities research analysts have recently commented on BCE shares. Canaccord Genuity set a $60.00 target price on shares of BCE and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 16th. BidaskClub raised shares of BCE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, June 30th. Barclays PLC boosted their target price on shares of BCE from $47.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, August 4th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 3rd. Finally, Argus started coverage on shares of BCE in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $55.80.

About BCE

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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