Harfst & Associates Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 13.2% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 1,057 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 123 shares during the period. Harfst & Associates Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $140,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other institutional investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 4.8% during the second quarter. TCI Wealth Advisors Inc. now owns 763 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $101,000 after buying an additional 35 shares in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors increased its position in Ecolab by 2.5% during the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares in the last quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. increased its position in Ecolab by 2.9% during the second quarter. Atwood & Palmer Inc. now owns 892 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $118,000 after buying an additional 25 shares in the last quarter. Sphera Funds Management LTD. purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth $133,000. Finally, Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America increased its position in Ecolab by 0.7% during the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares in the last quarter. 75.42% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Several equities analysts have weighed in on the company. Deutsche Bank AG raised their price target on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and set a $141.00 price target (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Friday, June 2nd. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group set a $128.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 3rd. Finally, Canaccord Genuity raised their price target on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $133.93.

In other news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total value of $966,270.11. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was bought at an average cost of $132.57 per share, for a total transaction of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

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Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up 0.30% during midday trading on Friday, hitting $131.33. The stock had a trading volume of 761,922 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $131.25 and a 200 day moving average price of $129.52. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $110.65 and a one year high of $134.89. The stock has a market cap of $38.00 billion, a PE ratio of 30.03 and a beta of 0.99.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. The company had revenue of $3.46 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.40 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $1.08 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. Equities analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.74 EPS for the current 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 $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.13%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 33.79%.

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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