UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. decreased its holdings in BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) by 0.5% during the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The fund owned 1,014,746 shares of the utilities provider’s stock after selling 5,448 shares during the quarter. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc.’s holdings in BCE were worth $48,901,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of BCE. Nationwide Fund Advisors grew its position in BCE by 1.3% in the second quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 12,614 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $568,000 after buying an additional 160 shares during the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its position in BCE by 1.7% in the second quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 64,615 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,910,000 after buying an additional 1,099 shares during the last quarter. Aperio Group LLC grew its position in BCE by 2.0% in the third quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 370,900 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $17,369,000 after buying an additional 7,413 shares during the last quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. grew its position in BCE by 2.2% in the third quarter. Highstreet Asset Management Inc. now owns 709,409 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $33,237,000 after buying an additional 15,118 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Bank & Trust grew its position in BCE by 2.4% in the third quarter. First Bank & Trust now owns 52,507 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,458,000 after buying an additional 1,249 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 44.76% of the company’s stock.
A number of equities analysts recently commented on the stock. Bank of America assumed coverage on shares of BCE in a research note on Tuesday, November 21st. They issued a “buy” rating and a $54.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of BCE from $60.00 to $62.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Friday, November 17th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of BCE from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 9th. Desjardins lowered shares of BCE from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, January 12th. Finally, National Bank Financial raised shares of BCE from a “sector perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 2nd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, five have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. BCE has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $56.00.
BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 8th. The utilities provider reported $0.60 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.59 by $0.01. BCE had a net margin of 12.25% and a return on equity of 19.85%. The firm had revenue of $5.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $5.96 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.76 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 4.5% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that BCE Inc. will post 2.75 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.601 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 14th. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 5.41%. This is a positive change from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.56. BCE’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 95.83%.
BCE announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, February 8th that authorizes the company to buyback $175.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the utilities provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.
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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.
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