Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday. Zacks Investment Research currently has $39.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Service Corp. is the largest provider of funeral and cemetery services in the world. The funeral and cemetery operations consist of the Company’s funeral service locations, cemeteries and related businesses. The financial services operations represent a combination of the Company’s insurance operations primarily related to the funding of prearranged funeral contracts and a lending subsidiary, which previously provided capital financing for independent funeral home and cemetery operations. “

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on SCI. BidaskClub raised Service Corporation International from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Saturday, August 19th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an outperform rating and set a $37.00 target price (up previously from $34.00) on shares of Service Corporation International in a report on Friday, July 21st. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $37.00.

Service Corporation International (NYSE SCI) opened at 35.31 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $6.61 billion, a PE ratio of 19.14 and a beta of 0.93. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $35.13 and its 200 day moving average price is $32.73. Service Corporation International has a 12-month low of $24.90 and a 12-month high of $35.89.

Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.35 EPS for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.30 by $0.05. Service Corporation International had a return on equity of 24.67% and a net margin of 11.59%. The business had revenue of $773.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $769.57 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.28 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts anticipate that Service Corporation International will post $1.47 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a $0.15 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.70%. Service Corporation International’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 32.43%.

In other news, CEO Thomas L. Ryan sold 100,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, September 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.92, for a total value of $3,492,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,175,109 shares in the company, valued at $41,034,806.28. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, Director W Blair Waltrip sold 2,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.07, for a total value of $70,140.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 661,409 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $23,195,613.63. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 604,800 shares of company stock valued at $21,109,153 over the last 90 days. Company insiders own 6.20% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Acrospire Investment Management LLC grew its position in Service Corporation International by 315.7% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 3,687 shares of the company’s stock worth $123,000 after acquiring an additional 2,800 shares during the period. IFP Advisors Inc grew its position in Service Corporation International by 2.1% in the second quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 4,232 shares of the company’s stock worth $142,000 after acquiring an additional 89 shares during the period. Founders Capital Management purchased a new position in Service Corporation International in the first quarter worth approximately $185,000. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC grew its position in Service Corporation International by 11.1% in the first quarter. Glen Harbor Capital Management LLC now owns 6,064 shares of the company’s stock worth $187,000 after acquiring an additional 608 shares during the period. Finally, Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new position in Service Corporation International in the first quarter worth approximately $200,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.83% of the company’s stock.

About Service Corporation International

Service Corporation International is a provider of deathcare products and services, with a network of funeral service locations and cemeteries. The Company’s segments include Funeral, Cemetery and Corporate. It conducts both funeral and cemetery operations in the United States and Canada. As December 31, 2016, it operated 1,502 funeral service locations and 470 cemeteries, including 281 funeral service/cemetery combination locations, which are geographically diversified across 45 states, eight Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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