Level Four Advisory Services LLC Reduces Stake in Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

Level Four Advisory Services LLC cut its position in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 29.4% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The firm owned 6,770 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 2,819 shares during the period. Level Four Advisory Services LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $847,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of the stock. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 2,154.8% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,032,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,884,161,000 after buying an additional 14,365,723 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Ecolab by 5.4% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,454,223 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,563,731,000 after buying an additional 1,044,370 shares during the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. boosted its position in Ecolab by 19.3% in the first quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 3,555,051 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $445,590,000 after buying an additional 574,200 shares during the last quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in Ecolab during the first quarter worth about $59,389,000. Finally, AXA boosted its position in Ecolab by 38.6% in the first quarter. AXA now owns 1,406,156 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $176,247,000 after buying an additional 391,686 shares during the last quarter. 75.66% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE ECL) opened at 129.81 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $132.19 and its 200 day moving average price is $127.80. Ecolab Inc. has a 12-month low of $110.65 and a 12-month high of $134.89. The company has a market cap of $37.56 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 29.68 and a beta of 0.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.12 by $0.01. The business 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%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business earned $1.08 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post $4.80 earnings per share for the current year.

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

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A number of research analysts have issued reports on ECL shares. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday, May 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 target price (up from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, June 2nd. J P Morgan Chase & Co upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and boosted their price target for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a report on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Eight investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $133.43.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.06, for a total transaction of $3,080,472.06. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 44,466 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,916,645.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were bought at an average price of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 44,810 shares of company stock valued at $5,897,361 in the last quarter. 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.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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