Service Co. International (SCI) Cut to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Service Co. International (NYSE:SCI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “While Service Corporation has outpaced the industry in a year, the trend may reverse. After delivering beats in seven straight quarters, Service Corporation marked its first earnings miss in third-quarter 2018. Though earnings rose year over year, it was hit by high general and administrative costs, and high interest costs. Persistence of these factors is likely to keep earnings under pressure. Also, consumers’ rising inclination toward cremations over traditional burials is a threat as cremations generate lower revenues. Use of alternative channels to buy funeral related products also poses concerns. Nonetheless, the company continued to witness enhanced revenues, courtesy of greater funeral and cemetery revenues. Management expects the strong performance to continue in the fourth quarter. It is focused on driving revenues, utilizing scale and allocating capital efficiently. These factors and solid prospects from Baby Boomers bode well.”

Several other equities analysts have also weighed in on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Service Co. International from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Oppenheimer increased their price objective on shares of Service Co. International from $42.00 to $47.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Friday, October 26th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Service Co. International from $46.00 to $50.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a report on Monday, September 17th. Finally, Raymond James increased their price objective on shares of Service Co. International from $45.00 to $47.00 and gave the company a strong-buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $46.17.

SCI opened at $46.07 on Monday. Service Co. International has a one year low of $35.19 and a one year high of $47.09. The company has a current ratio of 0.54, a quick ratio of 0.49 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.38. The company has a market cap of $8.23 billion, a PE ratio of 29.72, a P/E/G ratio of 2.01 and a beta of 1.06.

Service Co. International (NYSE:SCI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, October 29th. The company reported $0.35 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.36 by ($0.01). Service Co. International had a net margin of 15.76% and a return on equity of 22.47%. The company had revenue of $778.80 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $762.60 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.33 earnings per share. Service Co. International’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that Service Co. International will post 1.82 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, December 31st. Investors of record on Friday, December 14th will be issued a $0.17 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 13th. This represents a $0.68 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.48%. Service Co. International’s dividend payout ratio is currently 43.87%.

In related news, CEO Thomas L. Ryan sold 37,403 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, November 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.46, for a total value of $1,662,937.38. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,013,541 shares in the company, valued at $45,062,032.86. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Thomas L. Ryan sold 50,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, November 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.86, for a total transaction of $2,243,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 976,138 shares in the company, valued at $43,789,550.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 314,400 shares of company stock worth $14,012,985 over the last 90 days. 6.20% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in SCI. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services Inc. acquired a new stake in Service Co. International in the third quarter worth $107,000. Fort L.P. acquired a new stake in Service Co. International in the second quarter worth $120,000. TRUE Private Wealth Advisors acquired a new stake in Service Co. International in the third quarter worth $125,000. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC raised its holdings in Service Co. International by 707.3% in the third quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 3,423 shares of the company’s stock worth $151,000 after purchasing an additional 2,999 shares during the period. Finally, Townsend & Associates Inc acquired a new stake in Service Co. International in the third quarter worth $164,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 87.15% of the company’s stock.

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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