Wealthfront Advisers LLC increased its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 6.5% in the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 8,083 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after purchasing an additional 493 shares during the period. Wealthfront Advisers LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $1,427,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Permanens Capital L.P. acquired a new position in Ecolab in the 1st quarter worth approximately $26,000. Private Ocean LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab in the 1st quarter worth approximately $29,000. Athena Capital Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter worth approximately $25,000. Liberty Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter worth approximately $27,000. Finally, PRW Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter worth approximately $30,000. 75.26% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
A number of equities analysts recently commented on ECL shares. Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Bank of America reissued a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 target price (up previously from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Edward Jones lowered shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, April 5th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered shares of Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and lifted their target price for the company from $157.00 to $167.00 in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 target price on shares of Ecolab and gave the company an “in-line” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $180.93.
Shares of NYSE:ECL traded up $0.15 during trading on Thursday, reaching $199.27. 130,780 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,036,270. The firm has a market capitalization of $57.39 billion, a P/E ratio of 37.96, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.69 and a beta of 0.83. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $135.77 and a 1-year high of $200.93. The company has a quick ratio of 0.75, a current ratio of 1.14 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.02 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.51 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.57 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.06% and a return on equity of 19.50%. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.91 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 17th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.92%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 35.05%.
In other news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 72,526 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 18th. The shares were sold at an average price of $174.18, for a total transaction of $12,632,578.68. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 184,794 shares in the company, valued at approximately $32,187,418.92. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, Director Leslie S. Biller sold 9,975 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, June 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $195.01, for a total transaction of $1,945,224.75. Following the transaction, the director now owns 49,164 shares in the company, valued at approximately $9,587,471.64. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 149,145 shares of company stock worth $26,628,601 in the last 90 days. 1.52% of the stock is owned by insiders.
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Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other segments. The Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, primary metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, and commercial laundry.
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