Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management has underperformed the industry year to date. The pricing environment remains challenging and highly competitive due to aggressive bidding by smaller competitors. Moreover, Waste Management expects volumes to be down due to lower national counts as it strives for improved margin growth and pricing. In addition, continued decline in average recycling commodity prices and recycling volumes remain headwinds. Stringent government regulations are likely to erode profitability as compliance with such regulations increases the operating costs for the company. Time consuming permits and approvals to operate a landfill or any other waste management facility are often difficult to obtain and further act as deterrents. However, Waste Management aims to improve customer retention through better service and high value solutions, while extending its geographic footprint through opportunistic acquisitions.”

A number of other analysts have also issued reports on WM. Credit Suisse Group raised their target price on Waste Management from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. BMO Capital Markets started coverage on Waste Management in a report on Thursday, June 29th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $81.00 target price on the stock. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. raised their target price on Waste Management from $77.00 to $82.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus raised their target price on Waste Management from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $75.74.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) traded up 0.39% during trading on Thursday, reaching $76.63. The company had a trading volume of 619,624 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $33.72 billion, a P/E ratio of 26.24 and a beta of 0.74. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $77.23 and a 200-day moving average of $74.35. Waste Management has a 12 month low of $61.08 and a 12 month high of $79.28.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The business services provider reported $0.81 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81. The firm had revenue of $3.68 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.62 billion. Waste Management had a return on equity of 25.07% and a net margin of 9.18%. The company’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.74 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Waste Management will post $3.19 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In other Waste Management news, Director John C. Pope sold 453 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction on Monday, July 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.38, for a total value of $33,694.14. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 51,470 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,828,338.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 487 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.68, for a total value of $36,369.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 23,222 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,734,218.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Bridges Investment Management Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Waste Management in the 3rd quarter valued at $203,000. MPS Loria Financial Planners LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Waste Management in the 2nd quarter valued at $182,000. Lord Abbett & CO. LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Waste Management in the 2nd quarter valued at $19,445,000. Hall Laurie J Trustee increased its stake in shares of Waste Management by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Hall Laurie J Trustee now owns 18,555 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,361,000 after buying an additional 175 shares during the period. Finally, Atlantic Trust LLC increased its stake in shares of Waste Management by 7.6% in the 2nd quarter. Atlantic Trust LLC now owns 3,820 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $172,000 after buying an additional 270 shares during the period. 74.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Waste Management

Waste Management, Inc (WM) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is a provider of waste management environmental services. The Company’s segments include Solid Waste and Other. The Company’s Solid Waste segment includes its solid waste business. The Other segment includes its Strategic Business Solutions (WMSBS) organization; its landfill gas-to-energy operations and third-party subcontract and administration services managed by its Energy and Environmental Services and WM Renewable Energy organizations; its recycling brokerage services, and its service offerings and solutions, such as portable self-storage and long distance moving services, fluorescent lamp recycling and interests it holds in oil and gas producing properties.

Analyst Recommendations for Waste Management (NYSE:WM)

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