Eagle Capital Management LLC cut its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 17.0% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 22,665 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 4,646 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for about 1.7% of Eagle Capital Management LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 19th largest position. Eagle Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,841,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Norges Bank purchased a new position in Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth about $348,129,000. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main purchased a new position in Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth about $102,066,000. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC raised its position in Ecolab by 50.9% in the third quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 2,174,477 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $264,677,000 after buying an additional 733,608 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. purchased a new position in Ecolab during the fourth quarter worth about $81,124,000. Finally, Artisan Partners Limited Partnership raised its stake in Ecolab by 43.3% in the fourth quarter. Artisan Partners Limited Partnership now owns 1,891,020 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $221,665,000 after buying an additional 571,677 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.09% of the company’s stock.
Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at 126.35 on Friday. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $124.94 and a 200-day moving average of $120.18. The company has a market capitalization of $36.86 billion, a P/E ratio of 30.52 and a beta of 0.90. Ecolab Inc. has a 52 week low of $110.65 and a 52 week high of $127.06.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 21st. The basic materials company reported $1.25 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.28 by $0.03. Ecolab had a net margin of 8.11% and a return on equity of 19.08%. The company earned $3.35 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.47 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $1.22 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.79 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 17th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 21st were issued a dividend of $0.37 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, March 17th. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.17%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 41.11%.
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Several analysts have issued reports on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada set a $130.00 price target on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Saturday, January 21st. Instinet raised shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Nomura raised shares of Ecolab from a “reduce” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their price objective for the stock from $99.00 to $118.00 in a report on Monday, April 3rd. Edward Jones raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 22nd. Finally, Longbow Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $127.86.
In related news, Director Jerry W. Levin sold 748 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $124.49, for a total transaction of $93,118.52. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 32,521 shares in the company, valued at $4,048,539.29. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, Director David Maclennan bought 800 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 24th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $124.94 per share, with a total value of $99,952.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 925 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $115,569.50. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
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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