Service Corporation International (SCI) Lifted to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Tuesday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $39.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Service Corp. is the largest provider of funeral and cemetery services in the world. The funeral and cemetery operations consist of the Company’s funeral service locations, cemeteries and related businesses. The financial services operations represent a combination of the Company’s insurance operations primarily related to the funding of prearranged funeral contracts and a lending subsidiary, which previously provided capital financing for independent funeral home and cemetery operations. “

SCI has been the subject of several other reports. BidaskClub raised shares of Service Corporation International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an outperform rating and set a $37.00 target price (up from $34.00) on shares of Service Corporation International in a research note on Friday, July 21st. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. Service Corporation International presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $37.00.

Shares of Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) opened at 35.03 on Tuesday. Service Corporation International has a 52-week low of $24.90 and a 52-week high of $35.89. The firm has a market capitalization of $6.56 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.99 and a beta of 0.93. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $35.13 and its 200-day moving average is $32.75.

Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.35 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.30 by $0.05. Service Corporation International had a net margin of 11.59% and a return on equity of 24.67%. The business had revenue of $773.20 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $769.57 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.28 earnings per share. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Service Corporation International will post $1.47 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 29th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.71%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Service Corporation International’s dividend payout ratio is presently 32.43%.

In related news, CFO Eric D. Tanzberger sold 187,100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.93, for a total value of $6,535,403.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 150,217 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,247,079.81. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, insider Michael R. Webb sold 202,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.70, for a total transaction of $7,009,400.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 622,903 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $21,614,734.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 604,800 shares of company stock valued at $21,109,153. 6.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of SCI. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Service Corporation International by 13,931.4% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,407,111 shares of the company’s stock valued at $506,652,000 after acquiring an additional 16,290,180 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in shares of Service Corporation International by 385.2% in the 1st quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 2,869,347 shares of the company’s stock valued at $88,606,000 after acquiring an additional 2,277,979 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Service Corporation International in the 1st quarter valued at approximately $37,427,000. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Service Corporation International by 4.1% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 14,875,922 shares of the company’s stock valued at $459,368,000 after acquiring an additional 583,346 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Balyasny Asset Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Service Corporation International by 271.3% in the 2nd quarter. Balyasny Asset Management LLC now owns 777,768 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,016,000 after acquiring an additional 568,279 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 84.83% of the company’s stock.

About Service Corporation International

Service Corporation International is a provider of deathcare products and services, with a network of funeral service locations and cemeteries. The Company’s segments include Funeral, Cemetery and Corporate. It conducts both funeral and cemetery operations in the United States and Canada. As December 31, 2016, it operated 1,502 funeral service locations and 470 cemeteries, including 281 funeral service/cemetery combination locations, which are geographically diversified across 45 states, eight Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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