Traders Buy Ecolab (ECL) on Weakness After Insider Selling

Traders bought shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) on weakness during trading on Monday following insider selling activity. $68.15 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $21.40 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $46.75 million into the stock. Of all companies tracked, Ecolab had the 14th highest net in-flow for the day. Ecolab traded down ($0.66) for the day and closed at $134.67Specifically, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 347 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $134.77, for a total transaction of $46,765.19. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,615 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,026,273.55. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 18,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.09, for a total value of $2,467,620.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 427,548 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $58,612,555.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 64,843 shares of company stock valued at $8,852,577 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have weighed in on ECL. Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $140.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, October 12th. Jefferies Group boosted their price target on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Morgan Stanley began coverage on Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 price target for the company. Barclays boosted their price target on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $145.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, September 11th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $136.86.

The firm has a market capitalization of $39,010.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.74, a P/E/G ratio of 2.26 and a beta of 1.05. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 1.23 and a quick ratio of 0.83.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.28 EPS. research analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 19th will be given a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.22%. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is 33.33%.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 4.8% during the 2nd quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 763 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $101,000 after purchasing an additional 35 shares during the period. Atlantic Trust LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 2nd quarter valued at about $106,000. IHT Wealth Management LLC boosted its position in Ecolab by 4.9% in the 2nd quarter. IHT Wealth Management LLC now owns 811 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 38 shares during the last quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 2.9% in the 2nd quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 892 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $118,000 after buying an additional 25 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Sphera Funds Management LTD. purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 2nd quarter valued at about $133,000. 76.98% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Ecolab

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.

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