Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.9% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 22,709,178 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after acquiring an additional 419,611 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. owned approximately 7.89% of Ecolab worth $4,483,701,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Several other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Capital Management Corp VA increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.9% in the second quarter. Capital Management Corp VA now owns 1,335 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $264,000 after acquiring an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Johnson Financial Group Inc. grew its holdings in Ecolab by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Johnson Financial Group Inc. now owns 2,195 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $433,000 after purchasing an additional 56 shares in the last quarter. Cadence Bank NA grew its holdings 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 in the last quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in Ecolab by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. NuWave Investment Management LLC now owns 1,232 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $243,000 after purchasing an additional 58 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC grew its holdings in Ecolab by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC now owns 1,271 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $251,000 after purchasing an additional 59 shares in the last quarter. 75.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

NYSE ECL traded down $0.20 during trading hours on Wednesday, reaching $194.62. 28,720 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,053,393. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $209.87. The company has a current ratio of 1.18, a quick ratio of 0.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72. The stock has a market capitalization of $57.23 billion, a PE ratio of 37.13, a PEG ratio of 2.70 and a beta of 0.81. The company has a 50 day moving average of $203.13 and a two-hundred day moving average of $189.93.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.42 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.41 by $0.01. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.12% and a return on equity of 19.81%. The firm had revenue of $3.76 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.79 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.27 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 17th will be paid a dividend of $0.46 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 16th. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 0.95%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 35.05%.

In other news, EVP Darrell R. Brown sold 2,280 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $207.95, for a total value of $474,126.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 8,061 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,676,284.95. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Alex N. Blanco sold 51,400 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $203.07, for a total transaction of $10,437,798.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 59,425 shares in the company, valued at $12,067,434.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 66,358 shares of company stock worth $13,423,309 over the last quarter. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of equities research analysts recently weighed in on the stock. BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $180.00 to $208.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a report on Monday, August 5th. Nomura raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $208.00 to $210.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 7th. Credit Suisse Group set a $181.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 31st. Citigroup raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $190.00 to $206.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity raised their price target on shares of Ecolab from $198.00 to $222.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 31st. Twelve research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $192.00.

Ecolab Profile

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.

Further Reading: Outperform Rating

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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