Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its position in shares of Bell Canada (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) by 2.3% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 56,644 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after buying an additional 1,298 shares during the period. Alliancebernstein L.P.’s holdings in Bell Canada were worth $2,719,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in BCE. Wealthcare Advisory Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Bell Canada during the 3rd quarter worth $116,000. Cedar Hill Associates LLC purchased a new stake in Bell Canada during the 3rd quarter worth $225,000. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its position in Bell Canada by 507.3% during the 4th quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 5,253 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $252,000 after purchasing an additional 4,388 shares during the period. Capital Fund Management S.A. purchased a new stake in Bell Canada during the 4th quarter worth $258,000. Finally, IFG Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in Bell Canada during the 4th quarter worth $233,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 45.05% of the company’s stock.
NYSE:BCE opened at $42.73 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 0.43 and a quick ratio of 0.39. The stock has a market capitalization of $38,664.25, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.31, a PEG ratio of 4.50 and a beta of 0.33. Bell Canada has a 1-year low of $42.01 and a 1-year high of $49.06.
Bell Canada (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.60 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $5.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.96 billion. Bell Canada had a net margin of 12.25% and a return on equity of 19.85%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.76 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Bell Canada will post 2.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be given a $0.601 dividend. This is a boost from Bell Canada’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.63%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. Bell Canada’s dividend payout ratio is presently 91.60%.
Bell Canada declared that its board has authorized a share repurchase plan on Thursday, February 8th that permits the company to repurchase $175.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization permits the utilities provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.
A number of brokerages recently weighed in on BCE. Barclays upped their price target on shares of Bell Canada from $51.00 to $52.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday, February 9th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Bell Canada from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. Finally, Desjardins cut shares of Bell Canada from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, January 12th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $56.00.
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About Bell Canada
BCE Inc, a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada. The company operates through three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers integrated digital wireless voice and data communications products and services.
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