BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) Sees Large Drop in Short Interest

BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCEGet Rating) (TSE:BCE) was the recipient of a large drop in short interest in the month of March. As of March 31st, there was short interest totalling 9,210,000 shares, a drop of 43.7% from the March 15th total of 16,370,000 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 1,460,000 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 6.3 days. Currently, 1.0% of the company’s stock are sold short.

Shares of BCE stock traded up $0.23 during trading on Friday, reaching $58.20. The company had a trading volume of 1,020,131 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,198,334. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $54.39 and its two-hundred day simple moving average is $52.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.43, a current ratio of 0.68 and a quick ratio of 0.63. BCE has a one year low of $46.22 and a one year high of $58.54. The company has a market capitalization of $52.95 billion, a PE ratio of 24.35, a PEG ratio of 4.92 and a beta of 0.46.

BCE (NYSE:BCEGet Rating) (TSE:BCE) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 3rd. The utilities provider reported $0.61 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.05. BCE had a return on equity of 15.67% and a net margin of 11.83%. The business had revenue of $6.21 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $6.23 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.62 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts forecast that BCE will post 2.65 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 15th were given a $0.92 dividend. This is an increase from BCE’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.70. This represents a $3.68 annualized dividend and a yield of 6.32%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, March 14th. BCE’s payout ratio is currently 120.08%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of BCE. FMR LLC increased its position in BCE by 34.7% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 718,508 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $31,904,000 after buying an additional 185,075 shares during the period. Naples Global Advisors LLC increased its position in BCE by 7.0% in the 3rd quarter. Naples Global Advisors LLC now owns 43,070 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $2,156,000 after buying an additional 2,815 shares during the period. Community Bank N.A. increased its position in BCE by 6.3% in the 3rd quarter. Community Bank N.A. now owns 3,400 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $170,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Huntington National Bank increased its position in BCE by 101.4% in the 3rd quarter. Huntington National Bank now owns 9,486 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $475,000 after buying an additional 4,777 shares during the period. Finally, Intrua Financial LLC increased its position in BCE by 365.0% in the 3rd quarter. Intrua Financial LLC now owns 35,724 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,821,000 after buying an additional 28,042 shares during the period. 43.83% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on the company. Argus raised their price objective on BCE from $54.00 to $60.00 in a research report on Wednesday, March 23rd. StockNews.com started coverage on BCE in a report on Thursday, March 31st. They set a “hold” rating for the company. Bank of America lowered BCE from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday, March 14th. National Bank Financial lifted their price target on BCE from C$70.00 to C$71.00 in a report on Friday, February 4th. Finally, CIBC lifted their price target on BCE from C$65.00 to C$67.00 in a report on Friday, February 4th. Seven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, the stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $65.64.

About BCE (Get Rating)

BCE Inc operates as a telecommunications and media company in Canada. The company offers wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers. It operates through three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment provides wireless voice and data communication products and services, and consumer electronics products.

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