National Pension Service boosted its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 9.8% during the second quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 226,007 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 20,119 shares during the period. National Pension Service’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $29,709,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other large investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the stock. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 60.0% in the first quarter. FUKOKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE Co now owns 800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $100,000 after buying an additional 300 shares in the last quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors raised its position in Ecolab by 2.5% in the first quarter. JNBA Financial Advisors now owns 871 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 21 shares during the period. Harfst & Associates Inc. bought a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $117,000. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America raised its position in Ecolab by 0.7% in the first quarter. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America now owns 1,012 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $127,000 after buying an additional 7 shares during the period. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue bought a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter valued at $134,000. 75.66% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up 0.11% during mid-day trading on Friday, reaching $130.37. The company had a trading volume of 197,558 shares. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $132.25 and a 200 day moving average of $127.73. Ecolab Inc. has a 12-month low of $110.65 and a 12-month high of $134.89. The company has a market capitalization of $37.73 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.81 and a beta of 0.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ 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%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.08 earnings per share. On average, analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be given a $0.37 dividend. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.79%.

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ECL has been the topic of several recent analyst reports. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $135.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, May 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reaffirmed 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. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $120.00 to $138.00 in a research report on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted 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. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $133.43.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction 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 sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 44,466 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,916,645.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders sold 44,810 shares of company stock valued at $5,897,361 over the last three months. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Company Profile

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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