UBS Group upgraded shares of Waste Management (NYSE:WM) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday morning, www.benzinga.com reports. UBS Group currently has $103.00 target price on the business services provider’s stock, up from their prior target price of $90.00.

A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on WM. ValuEngine upgraded Waste Management from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 18th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Waste Management from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $101.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 19th. Goldman Sachs Group upgraded Waste Management from a sell rating to a buy rating and raised their price target for the company from $84.00 to $107.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 4th. Raymond James restated a buy rating on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Monday, October 29th. Finally, Oppenheimer restated a buy rating and set a $95.00 price target on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Thursday, October 25th. Seven investment analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating, The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $98.67.

Shares of Waste Management stock traded up $0.46 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $93.65. The company had a trading volume of 1,785,197 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,276,900. The firm has a market capitalization of $39.17 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.08, a PEG ratio of 1.68 and a beta of 0.65. Waste Management has a one year low of $78.39 and a one year high of $95.49. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.53, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.84.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The business services provider reported $1.15 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.11 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $3.82 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.82 billion. Waste Management had a return on equity of 27.93% and a net margin of 15.60%. Sell-side analysts expect that Waste Management will post 4.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 14th. Stockholders of record on Friday, November 30th were issued a $0.465 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 29th. This represents a $1.86 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.99%. Waste Management’s dividend payout ratio is currently 57.76%.

Waste Management declared that its board has approved a stock buyback program on Thursday, December 13th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.50 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the business services provider to buy up to 3.9% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, VP Jeff M. Harris sold 24,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $90.00, for a total transaction of $2,205,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CFO Devina A. Rankin sold 8,107 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $94.41, for a total value of $765,381.87. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 21,373 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,017,824.93. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Capital Research Global Investors raised its holdings in Waste Management by 407.2% in the 3rd quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 3,935,751 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $355,634,000 after acquiring an additional 3,159,827 shares during the last quarter. Morgan Stanley raised its holdings in Waste Management by 87.4% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,969,666 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $322,893,000 after acquiring an additional 1,851,169 shares during the last quarter. American Century Companies Inc. raised its holdings in Waste Management by 75.4% in the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 2,564,600 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $231,737,000 after acquiring an additional 1,102,457 shares during the last quarter. Hexavest Inc. purchased a new position in Waste Management in the 4th quarter worth approximately $53,937,000. Finally, Glenmede Trust Co. NA raised its holdings in Waste Management by 822.5% in the 3rd quarter. Glenmede Trust Co. NA now owns 426,909 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $38,575,000 after acquiring an additional 380,632 shares during the last quarter. 74.57% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Waste Management Company Profile

Waste Management, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides waste management environmental services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. It provides collection services, including picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility (MRF), or disposal site; and owns, develops, and operates landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States, as well as owns and operates transfer stations.

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Analyst Recommendations for Waste Management (NYSE:WM)

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