Zacks Investment Research Lowers BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) to Sell

BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, October 25th.

According to Zacks, “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 three months, the stock price declined 0.4% as against the industry's 3.9% loss. On the flip side, 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.”

BCE has been the subject of a number of other research reports. BidaskClub upgraded shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, July 31st. Argus assumed coverage on shares of BCE in a research note on Tuesday, July 18th. They issued a “hold” rating for the company. Morgan Stanley dropped their price objective on shares of BCE from $62.00 to $60.00 and set an “equal weight” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, September 27th. Finally, Barclays PLC lifted their price objective on shares of BCE from $47.00 to $51.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Friday, August 4th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. BCE has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $56.60.

BCE (BCE) traded up $0.25 during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $48.22. 598,800 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 874,343. The company has a current ratio of 0.51, a quick ratio of 0.47 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18. The firm has a market cap of $43,193.95, a PE ratio of 18.59, a PEG ratio of 5.19 and a beta of 0.34. BCE has a one year low of $41.83 and a one year high of $48.32.

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A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in BCE. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its holdings 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 during the period. Principal Financial Group Inc. bought a new position in BCE in the 2nd quarter valued at about $93,848,000. FMR LLC increased its holdings in BCE by 13.5% in the 2nd quarter. FMR LLC now owns 13,936,315 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $627,607,000 after buying an additional 1,662,207 shares during the period. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board increased its holdings in BCE by 3,184.5% in the 2nd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 1,540,242 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $69,262,000 after buying an additional 1,493,348 shares during the period. Finally, OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp increased its holdings in BCE by 113.9% in the 2nd quarter. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp now owns 2,088,120 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $93,899,000 after buying an additional 1,111,892 shares during the period. 42.90% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

BCE Company Profile

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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