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Here's Why You Should Retain Waste Connections (WCN) Now

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A prudent investment decision involves buying stocks that have solid prospects and selling those that carry risks. At times, it is rational to hold certain stocks that have enough potential but are weighed down by tough market conditions.

One such stock is Waste Connections, Inc. (WCN - Free Report) , which has gained 15.4% in the past year, outperforming the 12.3% rally of the industry it belongs to.


It has an expected long-term (three to five years) earnings per share growth rate of 10.4%. Moreover, the bottom line is expected to register 11.5% and 10.5% growth in 2019 and 2020, respectively. 

However, the company faces its share of headwinds. Seasonality is likely to lower predictably in Waste Connections' revenue generation and increase operating risks. Stringent environmental, health and safety laws have been hindering the company’s operations and raising its operating costs. High debt may limit the company’s future expansion and worsen its risk profile. Despite these headwinds, we believe that the company has enough positives that justify retention in investors’ portfolio.

Key Catalysts

Waste Connections is bolstering its stake in the solid waste industry through strategic acquisitions. In 2018, the company completed the purchase of 20 individually immaterial non-hazardous solid waste collection, recycling, transfer and disposal businesses. Previously, the company completed 14 acquisitions in 2017, 12 in 2016 and 14 in 2015. Some of the notable buyouts include that of American Disposal Services and certain affiliates, Groot Industries and Progressive Waste. 

We also appreciate the company’s focus on secondary and rural markets to garner a higher local market share, which will be difficult to attain in more competitive urban markets. This, in turn, decreases Waste Connections’ exposure to customer churn and improves financial returns.

Furthermore, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock enjoys optimal asset positioning as its disposal sites are located at prime locations, helping it generate higher profitability. Considering the importance of costs associated with the transportation of waste to treatment and disposal sites, having disposal capacity close to the waste stream offers a competitive advantage.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Business Services sector are Omnicom (OMC - Free Report) , Paychex (PAYX - Free Report) and Automatic Data Processing (ADP - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Long-term expected EPS (three to five years) growth rate for Omnicom, Paychex and Automatic Data Processing is 4.7%, 8.8% and 12.8%, respectively.

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