Ecolab (ECL) Sees Large Volume Increase

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) saw an uptick in trading volume on Tuesday . 611,111 shares traded hands during trading, a decline of 57% from the previous session’s volume of 1,419,726 shares.The stock last traded at $147.59 and had previously closed at $146.96.

Several research firms have commented on ECL. Canaccord Genuity set a $145.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Robert W. Baird lowered their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $144.00 to $143.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. Credit Suisse Group increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 24th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $153.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, March 20th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $153.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $141.06.

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The firm has a market capitalization of $42,450.63, a PE ratio of 31.95, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a current ratio of 1.34.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.40 by ($0.01). The firm had revenue of $3.65 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.60 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.10% and a net margin of 10.90%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.25 EPS. equities analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th were issued a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, March 19th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.09%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 34.97%.

In related news, Director Jeffrey M. Ettinger purchased 6,400 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 9th. The shares were bought at an average price of $134.42 per share, with a total value of $860,288.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 11,164 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,500,664.88. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 113,768 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 14th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $136.89 per share, for a total transaction of $15,573,701.52. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought a total of 1,848,529 shares of company stock valued at $248,579,565 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 1.5% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,713,077 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,108,380,000 after purchasing an additional 226,031 shares during the period. Clearbridge Investments LLC increased its position in Ecolab by 3.7% during the 4th quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $770,976,000 after purchasing an additional 207,345 shares during the period. C WorldWide Group Holding A S increased its position in Ecolab by 1.9% during the 4th quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,842,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $515,570,000 after purchasing an additional 73,309 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its position in Ecolab by 1.2% during the 4th quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,796,556 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $375,243,000 after purchasing an additional 34,370 shares during the period. Finally, Jensen Investment Management Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. Jensen Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,534,985 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $340,144,000 after purchasing an additional 13,405 shares during the period. 78.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Ecolab Company 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.

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