BB&T Securities LLC boosted its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 7.3% during the 4th quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 90,629 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 6,134 shares during the quarter. BB&T Securities LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $12,160,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other hedge funds have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its stake in Ecolab by 1.5% during the 3rd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 83,198 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $10,700,000 after buying an additional 1,208 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab by 5.2% during the 3rd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 39,446 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,076,000 after buying an additional 1,959 shares during the last quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab by 19.0% during the 3rd quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 2,540 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $327,000 after buying an additional 406 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc raised its stake in Ecolab by 4.3% during the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 42,603 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,479,000 after buying an additional 1,767 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab by 44.4% during the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 247,782 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $31,882,000 after buying an additional 76,237 shares during the last quarter. 78.34% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 694,343 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 7th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $132.10 per share, for a total transaction of $91,722,710.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 442,519 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 9th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $134.60 per share, with a total value of $59,563,057.40. 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 over the last 90 days. 1.49% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Shares of Ecolab stock opened at $138.08 on Monday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. The company has a market capitalization of $39,885.51, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.86, a PEG ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 1.07. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $122.58 and a 12 month high of $140.50.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.40 by ($0.01). The company had revenue of $3.65 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.60 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.10% and a net margin of 10.90%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.25 earnings per share. research analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th will be paid a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 19th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 31.91%.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on ECL shares. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, January 19th. Citigroup boosted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $144.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, February 22nd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $155.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, February 22nd. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus boosted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $153.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $140.88.

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Ecolab 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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