BCE, Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

According to Zacks, “BCE reported weak financial results in the second quarter of 2017. However, the company's strategic moves to enhance employee skills, increase capital investments and reduce expenditures looks impressive. Deployment of Gigabit Fibe, 4G LTE mobile networks, upcoming 5G networks, IP phone services and post-paid businesses should help the company gain customers. Buyout of Q9 Networks boosts the company's cloud suite and $854 million investment will aid its fiber-optics network suite. The buyout of Manitoba Telecom Services by BCE's arm, Bell Canada places Bell Canada as one of the largest mobile provider in Manitoba. On the flip side, BCE continues to face multiple problems such as stringent regulatory norms, loss in network access services lines, price competition, labor union issues, operational risks and construction delays.Over the past three months, share price of BCE inched up 5.65% but failed to beat the industry's 11.10% gain.”

BCE has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Barclays PLC increased their price objective on shares of BCE from $47.00 to $51.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Friday. BidaskClub upgraded shares of BCE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 13th. Canaccord Genuity set a $60.00 price objective on shares of BCE and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, May 16th. Finally, Argus initiated coverage on shares of BCE in a research report on Tuesday, July 18th. They set a “hold” rating on the stock. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $58.43.

Shares of BCE (BCE) traded up 0.323% during midday trading on Monday, hitting $46.861. 80,861 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $42.15 billion, a PE ratio of 17.948 and a beta of 0.36. BCE has a 52 week low of $41.83 and a 52 week high of $49.03. The company’s 50-day moving average is $45.55 and its 200 day moving average is $44.83.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.65 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $5.70 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $5.65 billion. BCE had a net margin of 12.85% and a return on equity of 21.08%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.94 EPS. Analysts anticipate that BCE will post $2.65 earnings per share for the current year.

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A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in BCE. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its stake in shares of BCE by 0.7% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 46,401 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,051,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the period. Cribstone Capital Management LLC raised its stake in shares of BCE by 63.9% in the first quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 4,762 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $215,000 after buying an additional 1,857 shares during the period. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. raised its stake in shares of BCE by 28.9% in the first quarter. Mawer Investment Management Ltd. now owns 2,417,270 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $187,289,000 after buying an additional 541,437 shares during the period. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of BCE during the first quarter worth approximately $799,000. Finally, Nationwide Fund Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of BCE during the first quarter worth approximately $551,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 43.99% of the company’s stock.

About BCE

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.

Analyst Recommendations for BCE (NYSE:BCE)

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