Republic Services Inc. (NYSE:RSG) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Republic Services is focused on enhancing its operations by streamlining the cost structure, improving revenue quality and seeking growth through profitable investment opportunities. The company is realigning its field support functions by combining two organizational layers into one and expects these initiatives to contribute about $25 million of annual cost savings from 2018. Republic Services reaffirmed its earlier 2016 adjusted earnings per share and adjusted free cash flow guidance. The company has a positive earnings history in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates have also remained steady over the last 30 days. However, it remains exposed to commodity price headwinds and protracted weakness in special waste, industrial volumes and tight municipal budgets, which will likely have a negative impact on earnings. Margins are also expected to remain constrained in the future quarters as well.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the stock. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of Republic Services from $52.00 to $56.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 9th. Imperial Capital increased their price objective on shares of Republic Services from $52.00 to $58.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 2nd. Finally, Macquarie assumed coverage on shares of Republic Services in a report on Thursday, August 25th. They set a “neutral” rating and a $53.00 price objective for the company. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $51.70.

Republic Services (NYSE:RSG) opened at 51.33 on Tuesday. Republic Services has a 52 week low of $40.05 and a 52 week high of $52.92. The stock has a market capitalization of $17.60 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.67 and a beta of 0.59. The company has a 50 day moving average of $50.84 and a 200 day moving average of $49.31.

Republic Services (NYSE:RSG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 28th. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.55. Republic Services had a net margin of 7.85% and a return on equity of 9.21%. The business earned $2.35 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.38 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.54 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Republic Services will post $2.16 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Monday, October 3rd will be given a $0.32 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. This is an increase from Republic Services’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.30. This represents a $1.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.49%. Republic Services’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 57.97%.

In related news, CAO Brian A. Goebel sold 1,695 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, July 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.10, for a total value of $88,309.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 6,391 shares in the company, valued at $332,971.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CAO Brian A. Goebel sold 3,780 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $50.83, for a total value of $192,137.40. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now owns 7,671 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $389,916.93. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Norges Bank acquired a new stake in Republic Services during the fourth quarter valued at $147,798,000. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. increased its stake in Republic Services by 3.7% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 201,211 shares of the company’s stock valued at $9,587,000 after buying an additional 7,223 shares during the period. DnB Asset Management AS increased its stake in Republic Services by 1.4% in the first quarter. DnB Asset Management AS now owns 22,383 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,067,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the period. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund increased its stake in Republic Services by 20.4% in the first quarter. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund now owns 47,123 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,245,000 after buying an additional 7,993 shares during the period. Finally, Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX increased its stake in Republic Services by 7.9% in the first quarter. Exxonmobil Investment Management Inc. TX now owns 57,938 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,761,000 after buying an additional 4,235 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 61.01% of the company’s stock.

About Republic Services

Republic Services, Inc is a provider of non-hazardous solid waste collection, transfer, disposal, recycling and energy services in the United States. The Company operates through three segments: East, Central and West. The Company operates in over 40 states and Puerto Rico through approximately 340 collection operations, over 200 transfer stations, over 190 active landfills, approximately 70 recycling centers, approximately 10 treatment, recovery and disposal facilities, and over 10 salt water disposal wells.

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