BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $52.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 11.33% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “We are impressed with BCE's decision to invest $854 million, which will boost its fiber-optics network suite and generate higher revenues by bringing in customers. Buyout of Manitoba Telecom Services places BCE's arm, Bell Canada as one of the largest mobile provider in Manitoba. Bell Canada’s data center and cloud computing operations are also likely to get a boost with the integration of MTS’ existing data center in Winnipeg. Buyout of Q9 Networks boosts BCE's cloud suite. Deployment of Gigabit Fibe, 4G LTE mobile networks, upcoming 5G networks, IP phone services and post-paid businesses should help the company gain customers. On the flip side, BCE continues to struggle with stringent regulatory norms, losses in network access services lines, price competition, labor union issues, operational risks and construction delays. Over the past month, the stock price declined 1.2% as against the industry's 0.5% loss.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on BCE. BidaskClub raised shares of BCE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, June 13th. Argus started coverage on shares of BCE in a research note on Tuesday, July 18th. They issued a “hold” rating on the stock. Barclays PLC increased their target price on shares of BCE from $47.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Finally, Morgan Stanley reduced their target price on shares of BCE from $62.00 to $60.00 and set an “equal weight” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. BCE currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $56.83.

BCE (BCE) traded down 0.3222% during trading on Wednesday, hitting $46.5595. 235,901 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. BCE has a 52-week low of $41.83 and a 52-week high of $48.27. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $47.34 and a 200 day moving average price of $45.83. The company has a market cap of $41.92 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.4642 and a beta of 0.35.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.65 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by ($0.02). BCE had a net margin of 12.85% and a return on equity of 21.08%. The firm had revenue of $5.70 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.65 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.94 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 6.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that BCE will post $2.66 earnings per share for the current year.

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Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. SG Americas Securities LLC increased its stake in BCE by 0.7% in the 1st quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 2,951 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $131,000 after buying an additional 20 shares during the period. Camarda Financial Advisors LLC increased its stake in BCE by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter. Camarda Financial Advisors LLC now owns 2,964 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $133,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the period. AT Bancorp purchased a new position in BCE in the 2nd quarter worth about $149,000. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC increased its stake in BCE by 1,416.2% in the 2nd quarter. Tower Research Capital LLC TRC now owns 3,548 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $207,000 after buying an additional 3,314 shares during the period. Finally, FNY Partners Fund LP purchased a new position in BCE in the 1st quarter worth about $168,000. 42.74% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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