Wall Street analysts expect Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) to announce earnings per share of $1.72 for the current fiscal quarter, Zacks reports. Six analysts have issued estimates for Ecolab’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $1.69 and the highest estimate coming in at $1.79. Ecolab reported earnings per share of $1.53 in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 12.4%. The company is expected to announce its next earnings results on Tuesday, October 29th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Ecolab will report full-year earnings of $5.91 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $5.85 to $5.94. For the next fiscal year, analysts forecast that the business will post earnings of $6.59 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.40 to $6.74. Zacks Investment Research’s earnings per share averages are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that that provide coverage for Ecolab.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.42 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.41 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.76 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.79 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.12% and a return on equity of 19.81%. The firm’s revenue was up 1.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.27 EPS.

A number of equities analysts have recently issued reports on ECL shares. UBS Group set a $202.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 31st. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $180.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Bank of America reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 price objective (up from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Citigroup increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $190.00 to $206.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, August 2nd. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $180.00 to $208.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research note on Monday, August 5th. Twelve analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $192.00.

ECL stock traded up $2.59 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $207.46. The company had a trading volume of 832,577 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,082,020. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72, a current ratio of 1.18 and a quick ratio of 0.78. The stock has a market cap of $58.95 billion, a P/E ratio of 39.52, a PEG ratio of 2.79 and a beta of 0.84. The business has a 50 day moving average of $198.84. Ecolab has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $209.24.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, October 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 17th will be given 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 0.89%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 35.05%.

In related news, Director Victoria Reich sold 1,500 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, June 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $199.25, for a total transaction of $298,875.00. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 20,987 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $4,181,659.75. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Alex N. Blanco sold 51,400 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $203.07, for a total transaction of $10,437,798.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 59,425 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $12,067,434.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 95,650 shares of company stock valued at $18,898,540 in the last three months. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. BlackRock Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 3.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 17,657,493 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $3,486,296,000 after buying an additional 578,662 shares during the last quarter. Edgewood Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.0% in the second quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 6,535,415 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,290,352,000 after acquiring an additional 64,560 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.7% in the first quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 3,199,716 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $564,878,000 after acquiring an additional 22,023 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 10.1% in the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 3,070,398 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $451,565,000 after acquiring an additional 281,532 shares during the period. Finally, Pictet Asset Management Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.1% in the first quarter. Pictet Asset Management Ltd. now owns 2,926,302 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $516,609,000 after acquiring an additional 31,033 shares during the period. 75.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Ecolab

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.

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