Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) have received a consensus recommendation of “Hold” from the twenty brokerages that are currently covering the company, MarketBeat.com reports. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 1-year price target among brokers that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $140.94.
ECL has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. They set an “outperform” rating and a $151.00 price objective on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, January 19th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $153.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, March 20th. Citigroup raised their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $144.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, February 22nd. Finally, Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a report on Thursday, February 22nd.
Shares of Ecolab stock opened at $140.65 on Thursday. Ecolab has a 52-week low of $124.46 and a 52-week high of $142.64. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. The company has a market capitalization of $40,512.39, a P/E ratio of 29.99, a PEG ratio of 2.09 and a beta of 1.00.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by ($0.01). Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.10% and a net margin of 10.90%. The firm had revenue of $3.65 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.60 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $1.25 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that Ecolab will post 5.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th will be issued a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 19th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 34.97%.
In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 694,343 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 7th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $132.10 per share, with a total value of $91,722,710.30. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 113,768 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 14th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $136.89 per share, for a total transaction of $15,573,701.52. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought a total of 1,848,529 shares of company stock worth $248,579,565 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.
Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in ECL. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 1.5% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,713,077 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,108,380,000 after buying an additional 226,031 shares during the period. Clearbridge Investments LLC increased its stake in Ecolab by 3.7% in the 4th quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $770,976,000 after buying an additional 207,345 shares during the period. C WorldWide Group Holding A S increased its stake in Ecolab by 1.9% in the 4th quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,842,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $515,570,000 after buying an additional 73,309 shares during the period. Wells Fargo & Company MN increased its stake in Ecolab by 1.2% in the 4th quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,796,556 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $375,243,000 after buying an additional 34,370 shares during the period. Finally, Jensen Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in Ecolab by 0.5% in the 4th quarter. Jensen Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,534,985 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $340,144,000 after buying an additional 13,405 shares during the period. 78.32% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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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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