Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waste Management (NYSE:WM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday, September 20th. They currently have $104.00 price objective on the business services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Waste Management continues to execute its core operating objectives and instill price and cost discipline to achieve better margins. It aims to focus on improving customer retention by providing better service and higher value solutions. The company's successful cost-reduction initiatives have helped it achieve EBITDA growth. Waste Management continues to enjoy a dominant market capitalization and a steady annual dividend policy. The stock has outperformed the industry in the past year. On the flip side, stringent government regulations are likely to erode Waste Management's profitability as compliance with such regulations increases operating costs. The pricing environment also remains challenging and highly competitive due to aggressive bidding by smaller competitors. High debt remains aother major concern.”

Several other research firms have also issued reports on WM. ValuEngine upgraded Waste Management from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, September 18th. BMO Capital Markets restated a buy rating and set a $93.00 target price on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Thursday, July 26th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $94.38.

NYSE:WM traded up $0.51 on Thursday, hitting $88.55. 2,724,035 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 2,093,874. The stock has a market capitalization of $38.74 billion, a P/E ratio of 27.50, a P/E/G ratio of 1.86 and a beta of 0.70. Waste Management has a 52 week low of $76.54 and a 52 week high of $92.85. The company has a current ratio of 0.75, a quick ratio of 0.72 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.48.

Waste Management (NYSE:WM) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 25th. The business services provider reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $3.74 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.76 billion. Waste Management had a return on equity of 27.38% and a net margin of 14.94%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.81 EPS. As a group, equities analysts predict that Waste Management will post 4.08 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, September 21st. Investors of record on Friday, September 7th were given a $0.465 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 6th. This represents a $1.86 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.10%. Waste Management’s dividend payout ratio is presently 57.76%.

In other Waste Management news, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 406 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, July 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $83.22, for a total transaction of $33,787.32. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 24,149 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,009,679.78. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Corporate insiders own 0.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WM. Windward Capital Management Co. CA raised its stake in shares of Waste Management by 2.3% during the 3rd quarter. Windward Capital Management Co. CA now owns 25,359 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $2,291,000 after purchasing an additional 563 shares in the last quarter. Exeter Financial LLC raised its stake in Waste Management by 3.5% in the 2nd quarter. Exeter Financial LLC now owns 16,994 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $1,382,000 after acquiring an additional 569 shares during the period. State of Alaska Department of Revenue raised its stake in Waste Management by 0.7% in the 3rd quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 78,651 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $7,105,000 after acquiring an additional 583 shares during the period. Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd raised its stake in Waste Management by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter. Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd now owns 35,687 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $2,903,000 after acquiring an additional 591 shares during the period. Finally, Roanoke Asset Management Corp NY raised its stake in Waste Management by 6.8% in the 2nd quarter. Roanoke Asset Management Corp NY now owns 9,328 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $759,000 after acquiring an additional 597 shares during the period. 74.62% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Waste Management

Waste Management, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides waste management environmental services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. It provides collection services, including picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility (MRF), or disposal site; and owns, develops, and operates landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States, as well as owns and operates transfer stations.

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