Forsta AP Fonden bought a new stake in BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) in the fourth quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor bought 195,489 shares of the utilities provider’s stock, valued at approximately $9,421,000.

A number of other institutional investors have also recently modified their holdings of BCE. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its position in BCE by 123.4% in the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 4,492,016 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $209,976,000 after buying an additional 2,481,400 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC increased its position in BCE by 24.8% in the 4th quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 3,471,341 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $166,662,000 after buying an additional 689,362 shares in the last quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. increased its position in BCE by 96.0% in the 4th quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,390,670 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $66,801,000 after buying an additional 681,261 shares in the last quarter. AGF Investments Inc. increased its position in BCE by 109.6% in the 4th quarter. AGF Investments Inc. now owns 1,236,627 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $59,401,000 after buying an additional 646,734 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Marathon Asset Management LLP bought a new stake in BCE in the 3rd quarter valued at about $25,802,000. 44.62% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

BCE has been the subject of a number of research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered BCE from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 25th. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “hold” rating and set a $60.00 price objective on shares of BCE in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. National Bank Financial raised BCE from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, November 2nd. Morgan Stanley boosted their price objective on BCE from $60.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, November 17th. Finally, Bank of America started coverage on BCE in a report on Tuesday, November 21st. They set a “buy” rating and a $54.00 price objective for the company. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. BCE has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $56.00.

Shares of BCE Inc. (NYSE BCE) opened at $44.48 on Wednesday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a quick ratio of 0.39 and a current ratio of 0.43. The company has a market capitalization of $40,483.46, a P/E ratio of 18.53, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.68 and a beta of 0.29. BCE Inc. has a twelve month low of $42.44 and a twelve month high of $49.06.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.60 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $5.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.96 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 19.85% and a net margin of 12.25%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.76 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that BCE Inc. will post 2.74 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

BCE announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program on Thursday, February 8th that authorizes the company to buyback $175.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the utilities provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.601 per share. This is a positive change from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.40%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 14th. BCE’s payout ratio is currently 95.83%.

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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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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