Sentry Investment Management LLC increased its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 13.5% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 15,256 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,820 shares during the period. Sentry Investment Management LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,693,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
A number of other large investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BlackRock Inc. increased its holdings in Ecolab by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,641,721 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,452,158,000 after buying an additional 656,297 shares during the last quarter. Bank of America Corp DE increased its holdings in Ecolab by 0.9% in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Corp DE now owns 4,447,561 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $655,348,000 after buying an additional 39,640 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in Ecolab by 7.9% in the fourth quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,151,160 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $611,674,000 after buying an additional 304,832 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund increased its holdings in Ecolab by 14,455.4% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,084,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $28,000 after buying an additional 4,056,773 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Northern Trust Corp boosted its position in Ecolab by 4.4% during the fourth quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 3,177,693 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $468,233,000 after purchasing an additional 135,035 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.54% of the company’s stock.
A number of brokerages have issued reports on ECL. Zacks Investment Research cut Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Canaccord Genuity upped their target price on Ecolab from $186.00 to $198.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. UBS Group upped their target price on Ecolab from $186.00 to $191.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. BMO Capital Markets upped their target price on Ecolab from $169.00 to $180.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, Bank of America reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 target price (up previously from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. Eleven equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $180.93.
In other news, Director David Maclennan bought 1,000 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 6th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $171.05 per share, with a total value of $171,050.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 2,519 shares in the company, valued at $430,874.95. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total value of $26,733,247.50. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 536,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 335,758 shares of company stock valued at $57,738,346 over the last three months. 1.52% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Shares of ECL traded down $0.01 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $181.52. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 16,027 shares, compared to its average volume of 933,531. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $135.77 and a one year high of $186.34. The company has a current ratio of 1.14, a quick ratio of 0.75 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The stock has a market capitalization of $52.32 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 34.58, a P/E/G ratio of 2.47 and a beta of 0.89.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.50% and a net margin of 10.06%. The company had revenue of $3.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.57 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.91 earnings per share. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.9 EPS for the current year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be given a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 17th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.01%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is 35.05%.
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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