Bell, which is wholly-owned by BCE Inc. BCE, is planning to bring high-speed Internet to the underserved regions of Quebec. The company will form a partnership with the Quebec government under the Regions branchees program. The project is aimed at providing all-fiber Internet connections to nearly 7,000 households and enterprises in 18 communities across Quebec.
Bell is considered the frontrunner in delivering high-speed Internet to rural communities in Quebec along with its increasing fiber and Wireless Home Internet (WHI) networks. The company had augmented its WHI service rollout in rural communities that included 137,000 additional homes by the end of April, responding to the COVID-19 situation. WHI is currently available to numerous homes across Quebec and Ontario. With Internet speeds of up to 25 Megabits per second, the service is likely to cover one million homes in Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Manitoba.
Due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, BCE has withdrawn all of its 2020 financial guidance. However, the company’s underlying business fundamentals remain strong. Its strong liquidity position, underpinned by a healthy balance sheet, substantial free cash flow generation and access to the debt and bank capital markets are expected to provide financial flexibility to execute its planned capital expenditures for 2020.
Shares of BCE have lost 11% compared with 43.1% decline of the industry in the past year.
The company topped earnings estimates twice in the last four quarters and missed the same in the remaining two quarters. It has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 0.7%, on average. The stock is currently trading with a forward P/E of 16.4X.
BCE has a dividend yield of 6.1% compared with 5.2% of the industry. The company has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 4.5% compared with the industry’s 8.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised 1.7% downward to $2.38 in the past 30 days.
BCE currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader sector are Turtle Beach Corporation HEAR, Plantronics, Inc. PLT and Ooma, Inc. OOMA. While Turtle Beach sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Plantronics and Ooma carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Turtle Beach has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 46.4%, on average.
Plantronics has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 27.7%, on average. The company’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters.
Ooma has a trailing four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 124%, on average.
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