Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 76.1% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 53,072 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 22,942 shares during the period. Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $6,652,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 43.3% in the fourth quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 1,891,020 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $221,665,000 after buying an additional 571,677 shares during the last quarter. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.2% in the first quarter. Dynamic Advisors Solutions LLC now owns 6,384 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $800,000 after buying an additional 195 shares during the last quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter valued at approximately $134,000. DAVENPORT & Co LLC raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.7% in the first quarter. DAVENPORT & Co LLC now owns 286,445 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $34,155,000 after buying an additional 15,419 shares during the last quarter. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in shares of Ecolab by 269.4% in the first quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 191,189 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $23,964,000 after buying an additional 139,434 shares during the last quarter. 76.08% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at 134.28 on Friday. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $129.84 and a 200 day moving average price of $124.16. The company has a market cap of $38.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.72 and a beta of 1.01. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, May 2nd. The basic materials company reported $0.80 EPS for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.81 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.17 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.16 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.96% and a net margin of 9.47%. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.77 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 17th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 20th will be issued a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, June 16th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 34.91%.

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Several research analysts have recently commented on the company. Instinet raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Nomura raised Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, May 1st. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $120.00 to $138.00 in a report on Friday, May 26th. Finally, Edward Jones raised Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $129.79.

In related news, Director Carl M. Casale bought 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 5th. The stock was purchased at an average price of $126.33 per share, for a total transaction of $631,650.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 11,495 shares in the company, valued at $1,452,163.35. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, June 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.06, for a total value of $3,080,472.06. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 44,466 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,916,645.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 44,810 shares of company stock valued at $5,897,361. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

About Ecolab

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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