Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) has earned a consensus rating of “Hold” from the eighteen brokerages that are currently covering the firm, Marketbeat reports. Eleven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold recommendation and seven have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month price objective among brokerages that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $183.42.

Several equities analysts recently commented on ECL shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Canaccord Genuity boosted 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. Bank of America restated a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 target price (up from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. Nomura upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their target price for the stock from $170.00 to $210.00 in a research report on Thursday, April 18th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 target price on Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th.

In other news, EVP Jill S. Wyant sold 29,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $179.14, for a total value of $5,248,802.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 34,718 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,219,382.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total value of $26,733,247.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 536,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 335,758 shares of company stock valued at $57,738,346. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Harfst & Associates Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 3.5% during the 1st quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. now owns 1,638 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $289,000 after purchasing an additional 55 shares during the last quarter. Cadence Bank NA raised its position in Ecolab by 1.4% during the 1st quarter. Cadence Bank NA now owns 4,110 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $725,000 after purchasing an additional 57 shares during the last quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC raised its position in Ecolab by 1.6% during the 4th quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 3,824 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $564,000 after purchasing an additional 60 shares during the last quarter. Page Arthur B raised its position in Ecolab by 4.1% during the 1st quarter. Page Arthur B now owns 1,510 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $267,000 after purchasing an additional 60 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. raised its position in Ecolab by 1.2% during the 1st quarter. Cullen Frost Bankers Inc. now owns 5,021 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $886,000 after purchasing an additional 60 shares during the last quarter. 76.54% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of NYSE ECL traded up $1.09 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $184.24. The company had a trading volume of 340,337 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,015,763. The stock has a market cap of $52.16 billion, a PE ratio of 35.09, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.47 and a beta of 0.89. Ecolab has a 1 year low of $135.77 and a 1 year high of $186.34. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.75 and a current ratio of 1.14.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.57 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.50% and a net margin of 10.06%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.91 earnings per share. On average, sell-side analysts predict that Ecolab will post 5.9 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.00%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 17th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 35.05%.

About Ecolab

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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Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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