Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waste Management (NYSE:WM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Saturday morning. The firm currently has $92.00 price objective on the business services provider’s stock.

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 acquisition of Deffenbaugh Disposal will enable Waste Management to extend its geographic footprint and make a foray in the attractive market of Kansas City, where it has limited presence. A steady stream of such accretive acquisitions is likely to drive earnings for the company in the future. The company's successful cost-reduction initiatives have helped it in accomplishing remarkable gross margin expansion and EBITDA growth over the quarters. With strong yield and cost performance in the third quarter, the company has lifted its guidance for 2017. However, Waste Management has performed in line with the industry in the last three months. Stringent government regulations are likely to erode profitability as compliance with such regulations increases operating costs.”

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on WM. Stifel Nicolaus restated a buy rating and issued a $100.00 price target on shares of Waste Management in a research report on Thursday, January 4th. Macquarie upgraded Waste Management from a neutral rating to an outperform rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 3rd. Credit Suisse Group set a $90.00 target price on Waste Management and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Monday, October 30th. Oppenheimer increased their target price on Waste Management from $82.00 to $87.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on Waste Management from $82.00 to $86.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $86.00.

Shares of Waste Management (WM) opened at $80.79 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.60, a current ratio of 0.71 and a quick ratio of 0.68. The company has a market capitalization of $35,080.00, a PE ratio of 25.98, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 0.70. Waste Management has a 1 year low of $69.55 and a 1 year high of $89.73.

Waste Management announced that its board has initiated a stock repurchase program on Thursday, December 14th that allows the company to buyback $1.25 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the business services provider to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are usually a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, SVP Barry H. Caldwell sold 1,650 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $81.10, for a total transaction of $133,815.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director Patrick W. Gross sold 387 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, January 17th. The shares were sold at an average price of $88.30, for a total value of $34,172.10. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 30,673 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,708,425.90. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Company insiders own 0.19% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. MHI Funds LLC bought a new position in Waste Management during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $184,000. Cerebellum GP LLC bought a new position in Waste Management during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $186,000. Gradient Investments LLC bought a new position in Waste Management during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $197,000. FTB Advisors Inc. boosted its stake in Waste Management by 44.2% during the fourth quarter. FTB Advisors Inc. now owns 2,285 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $197,000 after buying an additional 700 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Wedbush Securities Inc. bought a new position in Waste Management during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $203,000. 75.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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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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