Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Waste Management (WM) to Buy

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waste Management (NYSE:WM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Monday. They currently have $99.00 price target on the business services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management is focusing on the core business activities to instill price and cost discipline in order to achieve better margins. The company's successful cost-reduction initiatives have helped it in accomplishing remarkable gross margin expansion and EBITDA growth over the quarters. Waste Management expects yield momentum to continue in its solid waste lines of business in the forthcoming quarters as well. With strong yield, volume, and cost performance in the third quarter, the company has lifted its guidance for 2017. The company plans to return significant cash to shareholders through healthy dividends and share repurchases in the future to reward them with risk-adjusted returns. Waste Management has also outperformed the industry in the last three months. However, stringent government regulations are likely to erode profitability as compliance with such regulations increases operating costs.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on the company. Stifel Nicolaus raised Waste Management from a hold rating to a buy rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $80.00 to $95.00 in a research note on Monday, December 11th. KeyCorp boosted their price objective on Waste Management from $80.00 to $84.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research note on Friday, October 13th. Bank of America reduced their target price on Waste Management from $85.00 to $83.00 and set a buy rating on the stock in a research report on Thursday, October 5th. BMO Capital Markets restated a buy rating and issued a $85.00 target price on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Friday, October 13th. Finally, Macquarie upgraded Waste Management from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $86.78.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) traded up $0.91 during midday trading on Monday, reaching $88.18. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,605,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,701,175. The firm has a market capitalization of $38,350.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.35, a P/E/G ratio of 2.64 and a beta of 0.75. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60, a current ratio of 0.71 and a quick ratio of 0.68. Waste Management has a one year low of $69.00 and a one year high of $88.40.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The business services provider reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.88 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $3.72 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.71 billion. Waste Management had a return on equity of 25.61% and a net margin of 9.66%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.84 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Waste Management will post 3.2 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Waste Management announced that its board has approved a share buyback plan on Thursday, December 14th that allows the company to repurchase $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the business services provider to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are typically a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 1st were given a $0.425 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, November 30th. This represents a $1.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.93%. Waste Management’s dividend payout ratio is currently 54.66%.

In other Waste Management news, SVP Barry H. Caldwell sold 1,650 shares of Waste Management stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.10, for a total value of $133,815.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. 0.19% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Janus Henderson Group PLC increased its holdings in Waste Management by 7,400.8% during the 2nd quarter. Janus Henderson Group PLC now owns 4,317,825 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $316,712,000 after purchasing an additional 4,260,260 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in Waste Management by 5.0% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 34,374,879 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,521,397,000 after purchasing an additional 1,621,347 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Waste Management by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 31,637,903 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,320,637,000 after purchasing an additional 1,475,583 shares during the period. APG Asset Management N.V. increased its holdings in Waste Management by 49.2% during the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 2,417,131 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $189,189,000 after purchasing an additional 797,192 shares during the period. Finally, Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its holdings in Waste Management by 52.2% during the 3rd quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 1,942,925 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $152,073,000 after purchasing an additional 666,000 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.89% of the company’s stock.

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Waste Management Company Profile

Waste Management, Inc (WM) is a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is a provider of waste management environmental services. The Company’s segments include Solid Waste and Other. The Company’s Solid Waste segment includes its solid waste business. The Other segment includes its Strategic Business Solutions (WMSBS) organization; its landfill gas-to-energy operations and third-party subcontract and administration services managed by its Energy and Environmental Services and WM Renewable Energy organizations; its recycling brokerage services, and its service offerings and solutions, such as portable self-storage and long distance moving services, fluorescent lamp recycling and interests it holds in oil and gas producing properties.

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