Ecolab Inc. (ECL) Raised to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Ecolab’s third-quarter 2017 earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The beats came on the back of business gains and better pricing, which more than offset higher delivery product costs. Strength in the Global Institutional segment led by growth in the Specialty and Healthcare business lines is a positive.We believe a robust product portfolio and expanding customer base will drive organic sales over the long haul. Year to date, Ecolab has outperformed the industry. On the flipside, the company expects a significant impact of the hurricanes on fourth-quarter sales and costs. Ecolab operates in highly competitive markets, which might mar its prospects over the long haul. We believe volatility in foreign currency exchange rates will remain a significant headwind for the company. Ecolab faces pricing pressure in the Energy segment which is likely to hurt profits. “

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the company. UBS AG raised their target price on Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday. Barclays PLC raised their target price on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Wednesday. Jefferies Group LLC raised their target price on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday. Finally, Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $136.43.

Shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) traded up $0.14 during trading on Thursday, hitting $131.38. The stock had a trading volume of 1,869,828 shares, compared to its average volume of 935,536. The firm has a market cap of $37,957.52, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.87, a PEG ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a quick ratio of 0.71, a current ratio of 1.23 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 5.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $1.28 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that Ecolab will post 4.71 EPS for the current year.

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In other Ecolab news, insider Thomas W. Handley sold 7,397 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 14th. The stock was sold at an average price of $130.63, for a total transaction of $966,270.11. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 1.49% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Courier Capital LLC bought a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter valued at about $282,000. Alps Advisors Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 21.3% during the second quarter. Alps Advisors Inc. now owns 2,134 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $283,000 after buying an additional 375 shares in the last quarter. Stephens Inc. AR raised its holdings in Ecolab by 4.7% during the second quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 18,332 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,434,000 after buying an additional 822 shares in the last quarter. King Luther Capital Management Corp raised its holdings in Ecolab by 0.5% during the second quarter. King Luther Capital Management Corp now owns 817,279 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $108,494,000 after buying an additional 3,725 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp raised its holdings in Ecolab by 0.3% during the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 11,935,943 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $1,496,059,000 after buying an additional 31,277 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 75.31% 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.

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