Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC bought a new position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund bought 3,775 shares of the basic materials company’s stock, valued at approximately $485,000.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in the company. Papp L Roy & Associates lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 2.6% during the 2nd quarter. Papp L Roy & Associates now owns 28,491 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,782,000 after buying an additional 713 shares in the last quarter. Markel Corp lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 6.3% during the 2nd quarter. Markel Corp now owns 218,800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $29,046,000 after buying an additional 13,000 shares in the last quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 21.8% during the 2nd quarter. Stratos Wealth Partners LTD. now owns 5,903 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $784,000 after buying an additional 1,057 shares in the last quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 5.1% during the 2nd quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 22,446 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,980,000 after buying an additional 1,089 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Telemus Capital LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 3.4% during the 2nd quarter. Telemus Capital LLC now owns 2,450 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $325,000 after buying an additional 80 shares in the last quarter. 76.98% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (ECL) opened at $135.19 on Monday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 1.23 and a quick ratio of 0.83. Ecolab Inc. has a 1 year low of $116.92 and a 1 year high of $137.96. The company has a market cap of $39,058.29, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.71, a P/E/G ratio of 2.25 and a beta of 1.05.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.67% and a return on equity of 19.05%. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.28 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 19th will be given a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, December 18th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.21%. This is a boost from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 33.26%.

In related news, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 1,250 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $135.71, for a total value of $169,637.50. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 7,725 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,048,359.75. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 19,300 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $137.54, for a total transaction of $2,654,522.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 43,262 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,950,255.48. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 57,446 shares of company stock valued at $7,886,307. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several analysts have commented on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $137.00 to $143.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 7th. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 2nd. UBS upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Barclays upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Jefferies Group upped their target price on shares of Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. Ecolab currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $136.86.

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Ecolab 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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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