Sawgrass Asset Management LLC boosted its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 10.1% during the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 305,968 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 28,030 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for approximately 1.8% of Sawgrass Asset Management LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 25th largest holding. Sawgrass Asset Management LLC owned approximately 0.11% of Ecolab worth $40,617,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other large investors have also modified their holdings of the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 2,154.8% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,884,161,000 after purchasing an additional 14,365,723 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 5.4% in the 1st quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,563,731,000 after purchasing an additional 1,044,370 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 19.3% in the 1st quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $445,590,000 after purchasing an additional 574,200 shares in the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 1st quarter valued at about $59,389,000. Finally, AXA lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 38.6% in the 1st quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $176,247,000 after purchasing an additional 391,686 shares in the last quarter. 75.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) traded up 0.18% during trading on Friday, reaching $131.17. The company had a trading volume of 119,168 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $37.96 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.99 and a beta of 0.99. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $131.25 and a 200-day moving average of $129.52. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $110.65 and a 12 month high of $134.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. The firm’s revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.08 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. This represents a $1.48 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.79%.

Several equities analysts have recently weighed in on ECL shares. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price objective for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research note on Friday, May 26th. Instinet reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $117.00 price objective (down from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. UBS AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $147.00 price objective (up from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 2nd. Nomura reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $117.00 price objective (down from $120.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, August 16th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $133.93.

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In related news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were acquired at an average price of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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