First Merchants Corp cut its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 3.0% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 11,285 shares of the company’s stock after selling 353 shares during the period. First Merchants Corp’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $1,338,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in ECL. Washington Trust Bank increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 29.2% in the second quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,592 shares of the company’s stock worth $189,000 after buying an additional 360 shares during the last quarter. Eagle Ridge Investment Management bought a new stake in Ecolab during the second quarter worth approximately $226,000. Private Bank & Trust Co. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 10.6% in the second quarter. Private Bank & Trust Co. now owns 2,094 shares of the company’s stock worth $248,000 after buying an additional 200 shares during the period. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Ecolab by 2.3% in the second quarter. Peddock Capital Advisors LLC now owns 2,149 shares of the company’s stock worth $255,000 after buying an additional 48 shares during the period. Finally, Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 16.9% in the first quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. now owns 2,153 shares of the company’s stock worth $240,000 after buying an additional 311 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.82% of the company’s stock.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) traded down 0.26% on Tuesday, reaching $117.31. 1,131,075 shares of the company traded hands. The firm has a market capitalization of $34.21 billion, a P/E ratio of 36.79 and a beta of 0.90. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $98.62 and a 1-year high of $124.60. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $121.67 and a 200 day moving average price of $117.16.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 EPS for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.08. The firm earned $3.32 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.33 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 7.20% and a return on equity of 19.24%. Ecolab’s revenue was down 2.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.08 EPS. Analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be paid a dividend of $0.35 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 16th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 43.89%.

A number of research firms recently commented on ECL. Stifel Nicolaus lowered their price target on shares of Ecolab from $129.00 to $123.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, June 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $120.00 to $129.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Barclays PLC lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $120.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Canaccord Genuity lifted their price target on shares of Ecolab from $126.00 to $135.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $120.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, August 3rd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $126.74.

In related news, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 17,761 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $123.90, for a total transaction of $2,200,587.90. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 61,342 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,600,273.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 25,800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.41, for a total transaction of $3,158,178.00. Following the transaction, the chairman now owns 456,349 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $55,861,681.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s segments include Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, Other and Corporate. The Global Industrial segment consists of the Water, Food and Beverage, Paper and Textile Care operating units. The Global Institutional segment consists of the Institutional, Specialty and Healthcare operating units.

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