Waste Management (NYSE:WM) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, January 8th. The firm currently has a $99.00 target price on the business services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would suggest a potential upside of 12.42% from the company’s current price.

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.”

Several other research firms have also commented on WM. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 price target on shares of Waste Management in a report on Thursday, January 4th. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price target on Waste Management from $82.00 to $86.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Oppenheimer lifted their price target on Waste Management from $82.00 to $87.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, October 27th. Credit Suisse Group set a $90.00 price target on Waste Management and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, October 30th. Finally, Bank of America reduced their price target on Waste Management from $85.00 to $83.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $86.78.

Shares of Waste Management (NYSE WM) traded up $0.10 on Monday, reaching $88.06. 2,069,123 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,716,133. Waste Management has a 52 week low of $69.00 and a 52 week high of $88.73. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a current ratio of 0.71. The firm has a market cap of $38,240.00, a PE ratio of 28.32, a PEG ratio of 2.66 and a beta of 0.75.

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

Waste Management announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, December 14th that authorizes the company to repurchase $1.25 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization authorizes the business services provider to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s management believes its shares are undervalued.

In related news, SVP Barry H. Caldwell sold 1,650 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $81.10, for a total value of $133,815.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 387 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.30, for a total transaction of $34,172.10. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 30,673 shares in the company, valued at $2,708,425.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 0.19% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. FTB Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Waste Management by 4.3% in the 2nd quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 1,585 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 65 shares during the period. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC grew its position in Waste Management by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC now owns 3,913 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $287,000 after acquiring an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. Hall Laurie J Trustee grew its position in Waste Management by 1.0% in the 2nd quarter. Hall Laurie J Trustee now owns 18,555 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,361,000 after acquiring an additional 175 shares in the last quarter. Marietta Wealth Management LLC grew its position in Waste Management by 3.9% in the 2nd quarter. Marietta Wealth Management LLC now owns 5,010 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $367,000 after acquiring an additional 190 shares in the last quarter. Finally, ProShare Advisors LLC grew its position in Waste Management by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. ProShare Advisors LLC now owns 67,498 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $4,951,000 after acquiring an additional 198 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.93% 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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