Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) Lowered to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report published on Thursday, October 5th.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management has underperformed the industry year to date. The pricing environment remains challenging and highly competitive due to aggressive bidding by smaller competitors. Moreover, Waste Management expects volumes to be down due to lower national counts as it strives for improved margin growth and pricing. In addition, continued decline in average recycling commodity prices and recycling volumes remain headwinds. Stringent government regulations are likely to erode profitability as compliance with such regulations increases the operating costs for the company. Time consuming permits and approvals to operate a landfill or any other waste management facility are often difficult to obtain and further act as deterrents. However, Waste Management aims to improve customer retention through better service and high value solutions, while extending its geographic footprint through opportunistic acquisitions.”

Several other equities research analysts have also commented on the stock. Stifel Nicolaus lowered shares of Waste Management from a buy rating to a hold rating and reduced their price target for the company from $85.00 to $80.00 in a research report on Wednesday, October 4th. BMO Capital Markets reissued a buy rating and issued a $82.00 target price on shares of Waste Management in a report on Friday, September 8th. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. increased their target price on shares of Waste Management from $77.00 to $82.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, July 5th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group increased their target price on shares of Waste Management from $80.00 to $85.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Wednesday, June 28th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $78.74.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) opened at 76.69 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $77.49 and its 200-day moving average is $74.58. The company has a market capitalization of $33.75 billion, a PE ratio of 26.26 and a beta of 0.74. Waste Management has a 12 month low of $61.59 and a 12 month high of $79.28.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The business services provider reported $0.81 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81. Waste Management had a return on equity of 25.07% and a net margin of 9.18%. The business had revenue of $3.68 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.62 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.74 EPS. Waste Management’s revenue was up 7.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Waste Management will post $3.19 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 22nd. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 8th were given a dividend of $0.425 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 7th. This represents a $1.70 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.22%. Waste Management’s dividend payout ratio is currently 58.42%.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Hudock Capital Group LLC raised its holdings in Waste Management by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Hudock Capital Group LLC now owns 2,060 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $151,000 after buying an additional 12 shares during the period. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its stake in Waste Management by 0.9% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,568 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $114,000 after purchasing an additional 14 shares during the period. Lincoln National Corp increased its stake in Waste Management by 0.5% in the second quarter. Lincoln National Corp now owns 4,404 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $323,000 after purchasing an additional 21 shares during the period. Choate Investment Advisors increased its stake in Waste Management by 0.7% in the first quarter. Choate Investment Advisors now owns 3,224 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $235,000 after purchasing an additional 22 shares during the period. Finally, Bridgewater Wealth & Financial Management LLC increased its stake in Waste Management by 0.5% in the second quarter. Bridgewater Wealth & Financial Management LLC now owns 4,032 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $296,000 after purchasing an additional 22 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 74.88% of the company’s stock.

About Waste Management

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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