BCE Inc. (BCE) Short Interest Up 52.0% in February

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) saw a significant increase in short interest in the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 5,917,476 shares, an increase of 52.0% from the February 15th total of 3,893,264 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 866,192 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 6.8 days.

BCE has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Argus upgraded shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 price target on the stock in a report on Friday, March 8th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of BCE from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 29th. Finally, National Bank Financial lowered shares of BCE from an “outperform” rating to a “sector perform” rating in a report on Friday, January 4th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. BCE has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $46.33.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Sontag Advisory LLC bought a new position in BCE during the fourth quarter worth $30,000. Proficio Capital Partners LLC raised its stake in BCE by 145.0% during the fourth quarter. Proficio Capital Partners LLC now owns 990 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $39,000 after buying an additional 586 shares during the last quarter. Cutler Group LP bought a new position in BCE during the fourth quarter worth $43,000. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. raised its stake in BCE by 31.1% during the fourth quarter. Legacy Financial Advisors Inc. now owns 1,349 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $53,000 after buying an additional 320 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capital Investment Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in BCE during the fourth quarter worth $65,000. 44.10% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE:BCE opened at $44.38 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $39.78 billion, a PE ratio of 16.38, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.78 and a beta of 0.46. The company has a current ratio of 0.56, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.18. BCE has a 52 week low of $38.75 and a 52 week high of $44.86.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 7th. The utilities provider reported $0.67 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.66 by $0.01. BCE had a net margin of 12.30% and a return on equity of 18.87%. The company had revenue of $6.22 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $6.19 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $0.82 earnings per share. BCE’s revenue was up 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts anticipate that BCE will post 2.67 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.604 per share. This represents a $2.42 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 5.44%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. This is an increase from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.57. BCE’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 88.93%.

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BCE Company Profile

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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