Service Co. International (SCI) Upgraded to Hold by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Service Co. International (NYSE:SCI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Service Corporation reported second consecutive bottom-line miss when it released fourth-quarter 2018 results. Performance was hurt by lower profit in the funeral segment. Further, rising general and administrative costs as well as increased interest expenses have been a persistent headwind. Also, consumers’ rising inclination toward cremations over traditional burials is a threat as cremations generate lower revenues. Use of alternative channels, like e-commerce, to buy funeral related products is also a concern for the stock that has dropped in the past three months. Nevertheless, the company continued to witness enhanced cemetery revenues in the fourth quarter. Management expects the strong performance to continue backed by focus on driving revenues, utilizing scale and allocating capital efficiently. Markedly, acquisitions and building new funeral homes form an integral part of the company’s capital investments.”

Separately, Raymond James increased their price target on shares of Service Co. International from $45.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock a strong-buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $46.75.

NYSE SCI traded up $0.22 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $41.56. 1,024,064 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 900,623. The stock has a market capitalization of $7.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 23.22, a P/E/G ratio of 1.97 and a beta of 1.10. Service Co. International has a 12-month low of $35.19 and a 12-month high of $47.09. The company has a quick ratio of 0.49, a current ratio of 0.60 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.15.

Service Co. International (NYSE:SCI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 18th. The company reported $0.54 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.56 by ($0.02). The firm had revenue of $820.81 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $843.45 million. Service Co. International had a return on equity of 21.92% and a net margin of 14.02%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.50 earnings per share. On average, equities research analysts expect that Service Co. International will post 1.93 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 29th. Investors of record on Friday, March 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.18 per share. This is a boost from Service Co. International’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.17. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.73%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 14th. Service Co. International’s dividend payout ratio is currently 37.99%.

In other Service Co. International news, VP Sumner J. Waring III sold 95,100 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $42.65, for a total value of $4,056,015.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 428,631 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $18,281,112.15. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Michael R. Webb sold 881,565 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $41.56, for a total transaction of $36,637,841.40. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 476,253 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $19,793,074.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 1,316,230 shares of company stock valued at $54,840,899 over the last three months. 6.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of SCI. Baillie Gifford & Co. purchased a new position in Service Co. International in the third quarter valued at about $358,950,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its holdings in Service Co. International by 3,926.0% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 2,859,748 shares of the company’s stock valued at $71,000 after buying an additional 2,788,716 shares in the last quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C purchased a new position in Service Co. International in the third quarter valued at about $87,441,000. Standard Life Aberdeen plc increased its holdings in Service Co. International by 611.9% in the fourth quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 2,178,364 shares of the company’s stock valued at $86,198,000 after buying an additional 1,872,364 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Handelsbanken Fonder AB increased its holdings in Service Co. International by 24.1% in the fourth quarter. Handelsbanken Fonder AB now owns 3,448,328 shares of the company’s stock valued at $138,830,000 after buying an additional 668,592 shares in the last quarter. 87.62% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Service Co. International Company Profile

Service Corporation International provides deathcare products and services in the United States and Canada. The company operates through Funeral and Cemetery segments. Its funeral service and cemetery operations comprise funeral service locations, cemeteries, funeral service/cemetery combination locations, crematoria, and other businesses.

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