The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Acquires 19,712 Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 4.9% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 421,072 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 19,712 shares during the period. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company owned 0.15% of Ecolab worth $55,897,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of the stock. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% during the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the last quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% during the first quarter. Rench Wealth Management Inc. now owns 2,995 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $375,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Green Square Capital LLC raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.3% during the second quarter. Green Square Capital LLC now owns 2,836 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $377,000 after buying an additional 9 shares during the last quarter. Ironwood Investment Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% during the second quarter. Ironwood Investment Management LLC now owns 2,708 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $359,000 after buying an additional 19 shares during the last quarter. Finally, JNBA Financial Advisors raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2.5% during the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the last quarter. 75.42% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded down 0.71% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $131.76. 59,767 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $130.99 and a 200-day moving average price of $130.20. The stock has a market cap of $38.13 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.12 and a beta of 0.98. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $110.65 and a 52-week high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.08 EPS. Analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.73 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be paid a $0.37 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.12%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

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In other news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 75,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was bought at an average price of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 3rd. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $147.00 target price (up previously from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, August 8th. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, August 3rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $133.77.

Ecolab Profile

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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