State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System increased its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 0.5% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 391,815 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 1,960 shares during the period. State Board of Administration of Florida Retirement System owned 0.14% of Ecolab worth $52,013,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. BB&T Securities LLC boosted its stake in Ecolab by 51.2% in the second quarter. BB&T Securities LLC now owns 36,164 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,800,000 after buying an additional 12,248 shares in the last quarter. Northeast Investment Management boosted its stake in Ecolab by 2.9% in the second quarter. Northeast Investment Management now owns 2,043 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $271,000 after buying an additional 58 shares in the last quarter. ZWJ Investment Counsel Inc. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 3.1% in the second quarter. ZWJ Investment Counsel Inc. now owns 2,608 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $346,000 after buying an additional 78 shares in the last quarter. Blair William & Co. IL boosted its stake in Ecolab by 1.4% in the second quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 877,029 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $116,426,000 after buying an additional 12,142 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Addenda Capital Inc. boosted its stake in Ecolab by 3.0% in the second quarter. Addenda Capital Inc. now owns 4,396 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $501,000 after buying an additional 127 shares in the last quarter. 75.53% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 133.30 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a 12-month low of $110.65 and a 12-month high of $134.89. The stock has a market cap of $38.57 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.48 and a beta of 0.98. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $131.73 and its 200 day moving average price is $128.83.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.93% and a net margin of 9.66%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 4.4% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.08 earnings per share. Analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.11%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

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A number of research firms recently issued reports on ECL. BidaskClub raised shares of Ecolab from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 23rd. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and issued a $130.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, August 16th. Morgan Stanley began coverage on Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, August 15th. They issued an “equal weight” rating and a $140.00 price objective on the stock. UBS AG restated a “buy” rating and issued a $147.00 price objective (up previously from $144.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, August 8th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price objective on Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 3rd. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $133.57.

In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 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 purchase was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, June 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $133.06, for a total value of $3,080,472.06. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 44,466 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,916,645.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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