Stock Traders Purchase High Volume of BCE Call Options (NYSE:BCE)

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BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) was the target of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Stock investors purchased 5,498 call options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 10,081% compared to the average daily volume of 54 call options.

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on the company. Citigroup cut BCE from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, May 2nd. Barclays reissued an “average” rating and issued a $66.00 price objective on shares of BCE in a report on Sunday, May 5th. Desjardins cut BCE from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, May 3rd. Argus raised BCE from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 price objective for the company in a report on Friday, March 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed an “average” rating and issued a $62.00 price target on shares of BCE in a report on Friday, April 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. BCE currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $55.00.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Signaturefd LLC raised its holdings in shares of BCE by 9.7% during the first quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 2,781 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $123,000 after acquiring an additional 247 shares during the last quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of BCE by 1.0% during the fourth quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 25,367 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,003,000 after acquiring an additional 253 shares during the last quarter. Intrust Bank NA raised its holdings in shares of BCE by 5.2% during the fourth quarter. Intrust Bank NA now owns 5,303 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $210,000 after acquiring an additional 261 shares during the last quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. raised its holdings in shares of BCE by 8.5% during the first quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 3,475 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $154,000 after acquiring an additional 271 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Probity Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in shares of BCE by 2.1% during the first quarter. Probity Advisors Inc. now owns 18,336 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $814,000 after acquiring an additional 381 shares during the last quarter. 43.76% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

NYSE BCE opened at $46.88 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $42.00 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.69, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 5.11 and a beta of 0.42. BCE has a twelve month low of $38.75 and a twelve month high of $47.14. The company has a quick ratio of 0.51, a current ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.33.

BCE (NYSE:BCE) (TSE:BCE) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The utilities provider reported $0.58 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.58. The company had revenue of $5.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.75 billion. BCE had a return on equity of 18.66% and a net margin of 12.56%. BCE’s quarterly revenue was up 2.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.80 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that BCE will post 2.61 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Investors of record on Friday, June 14th will be issued a $0.592 dividend. This is a boost from BCE’s previous dividend of $0.56. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, June 13th. BCE’s dividend payout ratio is presently 87.82%.

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About BCE

BCE Inc, a telecommunications and media company, provides wireless, wireline, Internet, and television (TV) services to residential, business, and wholesale customers in Canada. It operates in three segments: Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline, and Bell Media. The Bell Wireless segment offers wireless voice and data communications products and services, including 40 live and on-demand channels on smartphones and tablets; roaming services; push-to-talk, field service management, worker safety, and mobility management solutions; and asset management, smart buildings, smart cities, fleet management, and other Internet of Things services.

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